Hell High Book 1
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 by Michael-Scott Earle
Damn. She was so beautiful.
I’d almost passed out when I first saw her, and then I’d almost fainted again when she sat in front of me in class. I couldn’t believe my luck. Not only was it my last year in this hellhole of a school, but I would get to sit behind the most wonderful girl I had ever seen. I felt blessed. Even if she never turned around to look at me.
I actually had two classes with her. The first was physics at eight in the morning, and I’d always arrive early. I’d sit at my desk in the back of the room and watch her strut in through the door. She always entered three minutes before the bell rang. I knew her daily schedule by heart. Well, first I’d documented it with pen and paper. Then I’d created a spreadsheet calendar to observe her habits, and then I had memorized it.
She was too cool to talk to Mr. Roberts, and even though the fat, bald devil man would always give her a warm welcome, the girl of my dreams would only nod at him before she walked in my direction.
As soon as she turned her eyes my way, I would pretend to look down at my school work, or sometimes I’d read one of my new mangas, or a normal comic book, or even one of my video game magazines. I knew that she probably thought I was a nerd, everyone at school did, but I prayed that she would one day ask me about the stuff I read, or even mention that she also played video games. All that was a fantasy though; after three months of adoring her she’d never said a single word to me in the morning, or after lunch when we had our history class and sat in the same spots.
Instead she ignored me. Just like everyone else at high school had these three and a half years.
I was okay with being ignored though. I wasn’t like my school mates. I didn’t have fangs, or fur, or tails, or glowing eyes. I wasn’t a vampire, werewolf, lizard, goblin, demon, or any of the other interesting races that filled the world. I didn’t have super strength, speed, or the ability to use magic.
I was just a boring human like my parents, and I didn’t want to attract too much attention. I’d made that mistake once when I walked through the cafeteria to my lonely corner. She floated toward me to get in the lunch line, and the Gary Wright song “Dream Weaver” played through my head like it did for Wayne in that funny movie. I’d kept walking without looking where I was going and spilled my lunch tray all over Tommy the vampire.
Vampires did not like having red pasta sauce on their school uniform.
Fortunately, Mr. Roberts had been on cafeteria duty that day, and the over-muscled devil teacher stood almost half a head taller than Tommy. My classmate backed down, shot me with a glare of hatred, and then mouthed that he would consume my soul later.
Fortunately, he’d forgotten about me by the end of the day and had never said a word to me since then.
Most seemed to forget about me.
“Sherman, can you answer question number seven please?” Mr. Roberts’ menacing voice called out through the classroom. I panicked, and my heart tripped over itself. He never called on me in class, and I had been too busy studying the beautiful leathery wings of the girl who sat in front of me. I felt twenty-five pairs of eyes turn to me, and I glanced down at the question on the page of the textbook sitting my desk.
“Uhhhh, I ummm. Hmmmm,” My voice caught in my throat and came out like a rat squeak. I heard someone chuckle in the front, and I cleared my throat to speak.
“Heating a solution makes the velocity of the molecules increase?” My voice tilted in a question at the end even though I knew that the answer was correct.
“Good job, Sherman! Alright. What is the heat energy required to completely vaporize ten grams of water starting at zero Celsius… Charlotte?” I tried my best not to gasp when he called my dream girl's name. Mr. Roberts must have been in a strange mood today. He almost never called on her.
“Twenty six point two kilojoules.” Her voice was like a golden harp being played inside a cathedral covered with velvet and filled with dark chocolate. Even the angel girls didn’t have voices half as beautiful, or half as sexy.
“Good, Charlotte. I can tell you’ve been studying. Okay class, turn to page two hundred and seventy four, we are going to talk about next week’s lab assignment.” The sound of Mr. Roberts’ growling voice faded into my subconscious, and my brain slid into a daydream while I focused on the girl’s leathery wings.
The appendages were wide, I guessed maybe six feet when fully extended, but Charlotte always kept them pulled close to her back. They were a dark pinkish-purple and changed shade a bit depending on the light. In the daytime, they seemed closer to red, and when it was night, I imagined they were purple. They looked like bat wings, but all the bats I had seen seemed to have some fur or hair on the wings. Charlotte’s were smooth and perfect.
Her tail was also the same kind of leathery muscle as her wings. It was pretty short, maybe only two feet at the most, and it came out of her back end right here her spine curved into the top of her pert ass. Most of the time it just hung flaccid behind her chair at my feet, but occasionally the cute little thing would twist around and dance. It happened when she was bored, or so I guessed. I had to pull my legs under my desk as far as I could to avoid the scorpion-looking stinger at the end of the tail. I didn’t know if the poison would kill me, but I had read in my mangas that succubus poison acted as a super-powerful Viagra. I didn’t want to fall in love with the beautiful demon even more than I already was.
“The lab is going to be performed in teams of two,” Mr. Roberts said. “We’ll be testing the heat dissipation of various metals in air versus other forms of liquid. You’ll need to work with a partner after class hours to discuss the metals and liquids you will use. You will have to submit a materials request to me by the end of the week. Then you’ll have the three sessions next week to document your theories and results. The guide is in the textbook. Any questions?”
There was silence in the classroom for a few moments, and one of the angel girls, Betanna was her name, raised a delicate hand. She had cream-colored feathery wings and hair that glimmered like gold. She looked as if she could be one of those Victoria’s Secret girls, but when I closed my eyes at night, all I could ever think about before I slept was Charlotte.
“Do we choose our own partners?” the girl asked, and I felt my blood chill to ice.
I hated group assignments. No one ever wanted to be my partner, and I ended up being the last one left or being shoved off onto one of the groups by the teacher. I didn’t even mind doing all the work; I just didn’t like the humiliating process of trying to find friends.
“You all chose your teams for the last lab. I’ll assign them this time. Odd number rows, turn around in your seat. That is your partner for this exercise. Shake their hand and get to know them.” He let out an evil laugh, and the rumble almost sounded like dozens of screaming voices lurked inside his lungs.
But it wasn’t my devil teacher’s laugh that made my heart suddenly beat in quadruple time.
Time seemed to slow down as the beautiful winged woman in front of me turned her head. Her dark brown hair twisted around her shoulders, and her purple eyes flashed under the florescent lights. Her face was perfect, and I felt the entire classroom spin. My body broke into a sweat, my hands started shaking, and I had trouble breathing.
“We don't need to meet after class. I will pick half of them, and you pick the other. We'll just talk tomorrow and confirm that we didn't make the same choices,” she said with a whispered growl.
“Mr. Roberts said we need to meet,” I said. My voice came out half whine and half squeak.
“I know what he said. I just don't want to meet. It's a waste of time.” Her eyes drifted down my face and to my desk. I had my school book lying on the table, and there was an open manga concealed in the pages there. It was the latest issue of this series where the protagonist got stuck in a video game, and the cover showed him surrounded by a harem of beautiful elf women wearing bikini armor.
“Okay,” my throat caught at the first syllable and only the ‘ay’ came out.
I thought she would say something else, but the bell rang, and everyone in class jumped up from their desks. My love moved quickly, and by the time I scooped up my textbook, mangas, and pencils, I looked up to see the back part of her purple wings slide out of the door.
I’d packed my lunch. My parents gave me a few dollars every day to buy something in the cafeteria, but I’d learned that they didn’t pay much attention to what was in the fridge or cupboards, so I got away with spending the money on comic books.
I arrived at the white, polished eating hall at my usual time and found my usual seat in the farthest corner from where the other kids sat. My spot was nearest the door to one of the teachers' lounges, and I figured that it would have probably been the choicest table if not for the proximity to the school authorities.
I took my seat, unpacked my peanut butter and banana sandwich, and then opened the manga that Charlotte had caught me reading in class. I’d been devouring the series for the last few weeks and felt a little twinge of regret that I was almost to the end of it. Fortunately, I had a bunch of unread comics waiting for me at home. I’d only gotten a few pages into the book and a few bites into my sandwich before my watch dinged.
I poked my eyes over my comic and waited for the beautiful winged girl to walk into the cafeteria. I had her schedule memorized, set to my watch alarm, and I looked forward to this particular time of the day. On cue, Charlotte strutted into the dining hall as if she was queen of the domain.
I had always thought that the different species of kids would have sat with their own kind, but that wasn't really the case. I often saw vampires hanging out with the werecreatures, or devils and elves laughing together. The different races all seemed to be friendly, or, at least, the only real segregation came from the two sexes. If a boy and a girl sat together, most would think they were dating. The only other kids who seemed highly segregated were the angels, and my love blessed a group of the feathery-winged girls with a smile as she strolled past them.
I watched her thread by a trio of girl vampires sitting with a pair of medusas and then stand in line at the food counter. Charlotte’s shoulders relaxed a little as soon as she got into the line, and I guessed from her posture that she was feeling a little stressed. Maybe she was worried about our upcoming test in history class? It was a massive exam on the Bolshevik Revolution and the fates of the seven members of the first Soviet Politburo.
My mind strayed from thoughts of my crush as I considered the upcoming test, but then I focused back on her when she sat alone at her usual spot across the hall from me. For not the first time, or the thousandth, I debated picking up my tray and sitting next to her. Charlotte was so beautiful, so wonderful, and so intelligent. I didn’t understand why she didn’t have more friends. Sure, she would occasionally sit with some of the werewolf girls, or maybe the reptilian nagas, but there weren’t any other succubi at our school.
I would have thought that my love would have befriended the beautiful erinyes, with their charcoal-black wings and their ferocious beauty. Or maybe even the angel girls, with their white wings and glowing hair. Or even the medusas, with their lithe athletic bodies and flirtatious snake hair. But no, my crush seemed to be the only gorgeous girl at our school who didn’t hang out with the other gorgeous girls.
Charlotte really needed a friend.
I took another bite of my sandwich and swallowed it with a painful gulp. Today would be the day. I would gather my courage, pick up my lunch, walk across the cafeteria, and then sit next to her. We were partnered together for the lab, so I would open the conversation by saying something clever like… damn, I couldn’t think of anything clever to say. I let out a long breath and leaned back on the bench. Maybe I should just introduce myself to her again and bring up our lab assignment?
“You just need to do this. Be brave like Shinji,” I whispered the name of my favorite anime hero. Then I reconsidered and thought about Spike Spiegel, who was much more mature than Shinji from Neon Genesis. Yes, I’ll be more like Spike for sure. The hero of the Cowboy Bebop anime wasn’t afraid to talk to pretty girls.
I placed my books in the nook of my arm, lifted up my lunch bag with shaky arms, and took a trembling step toward the other side of the cafeteria. I half expected the loud murmur of voices to cut into silence and for someone to point at me before laughing at my pathetic attempt to approach Charlotte, but no one paid me any attention when I took my first step.
Crap. What was I going to say? Each step took me closer to the girl, and I felt my heart spin in my chest like a flat tire. I definitely couldn’t tell her about the nights that I’d ridden my bike to her house so that I might catch a glimpse through the curtains of her upstairs bedroom window of her towel-drying her hair. I also couldn’t tell her about the mornings I woke up early so that I could see her jogging through the park. I really, really, really couldn’t tell her about winter break, when I’d spent the entire two weeks sitting in the mall food court so that I could watch her work at Hot Dog on a Stick. Charlotte had looked so adorable in that silly uniform that I’d almost wanted to take a picture of her with my phone, but that would have been a little weird. I mean, I wasn’t exactly stalking her or anything. I just thought she was wonderful and loved her with every part of my being.
Now I stood across the table from her.
My hands were still shaking, and I set my lunch down and slid onto the bench before I could let my terror take control. Charlotte’s eyebrow raised when I sat, and she put her fork down next to her half-eaten slice of pizza. She ate everything with a fork, and almost always got pizza from the cafeteria lunch lady.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I--” my voice came out as a squeak, and I had to clear my throat. I was trying hard not to tremble. Ugh, what was I doing here? What had gotten into me today? Was it the lab partnership? I should have stayed at my table. The palms of my hands were beyond wet with sweat, and my voice had retreated into my shoes.
“I. Wanted. To. Talk. About. The. Lab.” My words came out forced and halfway between blurts and cries.
“The lab?” she tilted her beautiful head slightly. The movement caused her brown hair to swirl over her shoulders like poured chocolate.
“For our physics class?” I asked. “We have to test the heat dissipation--”
“Oh, that’s right. Wait, you are in my class?”
“Yes, I’m your partner. We spoke briefly at the end of the class. You don’t remember?” My voice was still a squeak, but some of the tremble had left it.
“I remember saying that I would do my half, but…” she stared at me again, and pursed her perfectly full red lips, “I don’t really remember talking to you.”
“That’s okay. I get that a lot, actually.” I felt my shoulders relax a bit. Spike would have been proud of me. This was the longest conversation I could ever recall having with a girl, besides my mother. But she didn’t count and also didn’t seem to want to talk to me that often.
The succubus girl gazed at me with her swirling purple orbs, and I tried not to let my soul fall into them. Charlotte was so darn beautiful, I stared at her eyes, then her face, then her lips, and then I found my vision falling down to the top curve of her school uniform blouse.
“You wanted to talk about the lab?” she asked a split second before I ogled her boobs like a creeper.
“Yes, ummmm. I was thinking about using silver and brass in different motor oils. What do you think?”
“Okay. I’ll choose different metals.” She looked down at her pizza and picked up her fork.
“Oh, great. Ummmm, which metals were you thinking about?” I watched her cut a piece of pizza with a plastic knife and then lift the bite to her perfect mouth.
“It doesn’t matter does it? As long as we test out differences and document them,” she said after she had chewed her food.
“I guess not. Ummmm, did you study for the history test?” I asked as she cut into her pizza again.
“Yeah, after lunch we have AP European history together?”
“You are in that class with me?” Charlotte asked, and her purple eyes narrowed dangerously.
“Yes, I… uhhh, I actually sit behind you. Just like in physics.”
“Hmmm.” She ate another bite of her pizza and looked at my lunch bag. “Are you going to eat?”
“Yes!” I blurted out a little too enthusiastically.
My shaking hands pried open my lunch bag and grabbed my half-consumed sandwich. I took a small bite of it and then chewed. Charlotte was three quarters done with her pizza and had started to eat some of the sickly-looking peas on her plate. She didn’t really look at me while she ate, but that was fine.
I was eating lunch with a girl.
It wasn’t just any girl either. It was the girl of my dreams. The girl who I thought about almost every second of my existence. The girl who I wanted to spend the rest of my life, marry, have kids, and grow old together with. I knew that we were still in high school, but this lunch was the start of it all. As long as I didn’t mess it up by being weird, I knew that I’d eventually have the courage to ask her out.
I heard a ring across the table, and the brown-haired succubus reached into her backpack. Unlike most of the kids at school, Charlotte had an old-style flip phone instead of the latest smart styles. It was pink, covered with stickers of cats, and even had a tail of beads coming out of the bottom. She flipped it open and stared at the screen for a second before she closed it.
“I have to go,” she said as she put her phone back in her bag and stood from the bench.
“Oh, okay,” I said.
It was odd that she was getting a phone call, or text message, or even looking at her phone. She normally never did anything with it. Her beautiful face seemed worried, and her forehead scrunched to make her adorable brows knit into perfect chevron-shaped creases.
“Ummmm, bye?” I said as she stepped away from the table. I tried not to let my disappointment come through in my voice, but I hadn’t expected her to leave so suddenly, or to forget some sort of a farewell. Granted, we had just started to eat together, but I kind of would have thought someone would have at least said ‘goodbye’ or something.
Maybe the call was really important?
Maybe she was in danger? Or someone she loved was in danger?
It was a dumb question to even consider, but I couldn’t shake the notion from my brain as I watched the beautiful girl’s skirt and tail flutter toward the exit of the cafeteria. Charlotte had never left lunch like this, and we only had fifteen minutes until our history test. I didn’t want her to miss it.
Should I follow her?
What would one of my manga heroes do?
I had already crossed the cafeteria wastelands to speak with the beautiful princess. I had already sat down across from her and engaged her in conversation. I had already feasted with her. I could go on a quest to guarantee her safety and ensure that she made it back to her dreaded history test in time.
My books slid into the familiar nook in my arm, and I stood with a gusto that actually surprised me. My feet carried me quickly to the exit doors of the cafeteria, and I threw my half-eaten lunch into the trash bin. I still felt a little hungry, but a hero could go without food if he was required to embark on a quest to save a beautiful woman. I’d be fine.
The hallway had a few kids by the lockers, mostly vampires who thought they were too cool to eat in the cafeteria, but I did see a few satyrs speaking with a dwarf. Charlotte was at the end of the far hallway, and I saw her make a right at the corner. I did my best to hurry after her, without running, and peered around the corner once I arrived.
The beautiful girl walked toward the stairs leading down into the basement levels of the school. It was a dark, creepy place off limits to all students. There were various websites mentioning all sorts of evil sacrifices, or even occult sexual activities performed by the faculty there after hours. I didn’t want to believe that any of those stories were true, but I’d read enough comics and seen enough TV to know that anything was possible.
Charlotte glanced over her shoulder, and I ducked back past the corner of the hallway so that she didn’t see me. I waited a few seconds before I peeked back around and saw the tip of her tail float down the stairs into the darkness of the basement.
The conflict fought in my stomach like two battling tigers. It seemed apparent to me that the love of my life was in trouble. Maybe. She never broke her routine, and I could only think of two reasons why she would need to go into the basement. She was meeting someone either for an epic demon battle or for the activity that succubi were known for. The thought of her having a lover made my heart stop beating for a second, and I felt a sting of tears come to my eyes.
I was being an ass. I was a senior in high school and going to college next year. I was an adult, and so was Charlotte. If she was meeting someone for love, then I needed to let her go. Sure, I’d probably cry like an idiot for the rest of the school year, but it wasn’t like I’d ever expected her to care about me. I was just happy to be able to look at her.
But maybe she was in danger? Maybe this wasn’t a secret meeting between lovers? Should I brave the darkness and see if she needed my help? Would I ruin any potential chance at romance or friendship with her if I intruded?
I took a deep breath, clutched my books tighter against my chest, and walked down the stairs into the darkness of the basement.
The basement looked dark from the top of the stairs, but it was just the change in light from the fluorescent-lit hallways to the dimness of the creepy basement. I reached the bottom of the steps and glanced back to the blue lights. It almost seemed like a stairway to heaven, and I wondered if I should forget about Charlotte and go back to the cafeteria. It was safe there, and I could read my comics, or think about my upcoming test, or do anything other than risk this oppressive darkness.
I stepped away from the stairs and the cool fluorescent light. The path was narrow, but a turn of a corner led me to a series of corridors that spread out in all directions like a grid pattern. The occasional wall lamp hung every few dozen feet, but half of the bulbs seemed to be burnt out, and the other half looked like they only had a forty watt in them.
I walked a few more feet around the first corner and waited for my eyes to adjust to the lack of illumination. I saw no trace of Charlotte, but the hairs on my neck stood at attention. My legs also trembled, and my palms were sweaty where they clutched onto my books.
This was a bad idea.
But every hero probably questioned themselves before they saved the girl. I just needed to push forward. Charlotte might need my help, unless she planned a meeting with a boyfriend that I didn’t know about. If that was actually the case, then it might be good for me. I could leave them alone, and maybe I’d be able to get over the beautiful girl.
First, I needed to figure out where she had gone. I looked from left to right and realized that it would be impossible to tell where the succubus had walked. I didn’t really see any dust here, just cold dark concrete, rusted-looking plumbing pipes, crumbling brick, and the half-working light fixtures.
“Hell-” I called out, but stopped myself. Charlotte probably wouldn’t appreciate me following her, even if she was in trouble. Calling out a greeting would be a good way to get her mad at me, or to alert whatever danger she faced that I was also in the basement.
I closed my eyes and tried to guess where she would have gone. I saw paths immediately to my left and right, and then two more sets of branching corridors further down the hall. It would have been impossible to guess, but I figured that if I explored one of the first branches, it would be hard for the girl to leave back up the stairs without me noticing. I didn’t want to spend the next fifteen minutes looking for her in the darkness if she had already gone to class.
I guessed left and turned to walk in that direction. The hallway stretched further than I expected, and the walls seemed to crumble into disrepair with each step I took away from the main branch of the basement. I heard a dripping sound ahead, and a popping whirl that turned into a snake-like hiss. I didn’t want to approach the noise, and each step began to feel as if I had walked a hundred yards with a forty-pound weight around my neck. I was about to turn around and head back, but then the hallway opened into a larger room.
There was a bit more light in here, since all the wall lamps had working bulbs, and I saw a rusted metal desk in one corner of the room. There was also a pair of massive green cylinders set on their sides. I approached the twin metal contraptions and noticed a bunch of pipes leading in and out of them. Pressure gauges were attached to each one, and I sighed when I realized that these were just the school’s boilers.
This was a dead end, so I turned to walk back to the main branch of the corridors, but, as soon as I spun, I came face to face with Charlotte.
“Who are you?” Her voice was a sexy growl, and my body fought against equal parts terror and arousal.
Her purple eyes were glowing brighter than the lamps on the wall.
“S-s-s-sorry, I d-d-d-didn’t mean to follow you. Well, act-act-actually I did. Ahhhh!”
I screamed, or tried to scream, but her fingers closed around my throat, and my voice cut off before I could force any air out of my mouth. My neck, spine, and legs cracked with the weight of my body. The beautiful succubus had lifted me by my throat, and my legs dangled above the floor.
“Who sent you to kill me?” she growled the question, and I saw her left arm coil behind her back. Her hands normally looked human, but they had now changed into leathery bird talons. Each bladed nail gleamed in the dim lamplight, and I knew that the needles could tear me into spaghetti noodles with ease.
“No! One! Kkkkack!” My head was swimming with the darkness, and it sounded like the whirling of the boilers came from inside my eardrums.
“I won’t gut you,” she said a second before she dropped me. I landed on my ass with a painful jolt and gave a thankful gasp when I tasted the musty air. “No.” She grabbed the front of my uniform shirt and yanked me to my feet. My mouth was suddenly a few inches away from her, and I could smell the sweetness of her breath. “It’s been too long since I’ve fed. No one will find your husk down here. I don’t need to know who sent you, but they could have--”
“No one sent me! I just love you!”
Maybe it was my dizziness from lack of air, or the pain from falling on my ass, or the fear of getting eaten by the woman who I had a crush on. Whatever the reason, the admission spilled out of my mouth like air when the wind is knocked from someone’s lungs.
“Wait, what?” she asked as her talons moved from my shirt to my neck.
“I-I-I just think you are beautiful.”
“Y-y-y-yes,” I stuttered again as the points of her nails dug into my throat. “Ever since you transferred to our school. I mean, I love-love-love your wings, and your tail, and your h-a-a-air. You are smart too, I see that you get A’s on all your tests and you turn in your homework on time. I--”
“My wings? My tail? What are you talking about?” I felt my warm blood start to drip onto the collar of my shirt.
“Y-y-yeah, I like your wings. I like the purple color. They are like Lilith’s.”
“Lilith’s? How do you know Lilith?” Her grip tightened, and I almost couldn’t talk.
“From the Darkstalkers video game. I guess yours are more purple like the inside of Morrigan’s. Lilith's are red in her default costume. You always seemed to look more like Lilith to me, even though you have long hair. She is my favorite character.” I realized I was babbling and about to run out of air.
“You see my wings? How? Am I the only one?” Her eyes narrowed to molten slits of purple fire.
“Uhh, the angel and erinye girls have pretty wings also, but I prefer your pinkish-purple ones to their feather ones. T-t-t-there are l-l-lots of beautiful girls at our school, but I just really like you. Sorry, I don’t want to scare you. Or have you think I am some sort of weird stalker.”
Her eyes continued to glow their purple hue, but I felt a bit of the pressure loosen from her nails on my throat. I took a little-larger breath, and my heart began to beat at a normal pace.
“How do you know about my wings? Who are you?”
“I don’t understand your question. I uhh, ummm, I’m Sherman.”
“Sherman? You said you saw me at school. Do you go to this school?” Her eyes narrowed a bit when she asked her question.
“Yeah, I sit behind you in physics class. We are lab partners. I just talked to you a few minutes ago in the cafeteria. Do you remember?”
“Hmmm.” Her eyes drifted up and down my body before settling back on my face. “I think I remember you. Yes, you did ask me about the lab at lunch. I’m sorry. I am normally good with names and faces. I didn't remember yours.”
“That’s okay. I, uhh, I get that a lot, actually.”
I felt her hand release my neck, and I reached up to touch the blood coming from the tiny holes she’d made there. My books lay scattered across the cold floor by the boilers, and I saw one of my mangas sitting in a pool of dark water. I should have been upset, but I was more happy to be alive now.
“You see my wings,” she said it like a statement and not a question.
“Yeah, and your tail.”
“I don’t understand. You said something about angels also?”
“They have white or off-white feather wings, and their hair kind of glows. Angels, right? That is what they are called on the TV shows and the internet.”
“They have these dark-gray or black-feathered wings. There are ones with gold or brown wings, but I think those are furies. I’ve never really asked them if there is a difference.”
“And I am?” she crossed her arms, and her lips formed a forced line.
“Uhhh, succubus right? The wings, the tail, you are beautiful.” My heart started racing again as soon as I complimented her.
“What else do you see?” Her voice turned into a low growl again, and I wondered if she didn’t like me calling her a succubus.
“Uhhh, what do you mean?”
“Do you see the other devils, demons, anything else that doesn’t look like a human?”
“Yeah. From my observations, only one out of ten or so people look like me. The rest are something else. If you want, I could go through the list of them. There are the vampires and werewolves, or sometimes they are werecats. There are the goblins, some elves, dwarves, lizards, and--”
“Stop,” Charlotte said with a raised hand. “How long have you seen us?”
“What do you mean?”
“No one can see us. Do you understand? We can’t even see each other’s true form. What you are saying is impossible.” She uncrossed her arms and took a step toward me.
“I-I-I ummm, I kind of always have. What do you mean that it is impossible?”
“The terms of the War on Earth. We all have to look like humans. It is the only way we can be in this realm. We can’t see each other. How long have you been able to see us?” Her arm lashed out, and I felt her nails sink into my bicep, painfully. Her grip felt insanely strong, and I gasped with part surprise and part fear.
“I don’t really understand. I’m sorry, Charlotte. I just remember always being able to see, ummm, these kinds of things.”
“No, that doesn’t make any sense. What did you say your name was?” she asked.
“Sherman, Sherman, Sherman,” she repeated. “How could you have gone through life seeing us? I find it hard to believe that one of Earth’s Soldiers wouldn’t have found you out already and killed you.”
“Killed me?” I felt the terror permeate the rest of my body like an icy chill.
“Yes, killed you.” Her eyes seemed to glow a brighter purple. “But I’m not interested in killing you right now. I’m more interested in understanding how you weren’t found out until just now, or how you haven’t gone insane.”
“W-w-why would I go insane?” I asked as her other clawed hand clamped onto my other bicep.
“Because you witness the stuff of myths, legends, and stories walking the streets. You see angels, devils, demons, and monsters. Your human mind wasn’t meant to observe these things.” Charlotte shook her head, and her full lips twisted into a smirk.
She didn’t let go of my arms.
“I didn’t think it was weird.”
“How did you not think seeing someone with wings and a tail was weird?” she rolled her glowing eyes.
“I don’t know. Now that you mention it, the idea seems weird. I just saw everyone on TV, and not everyone was human. The comics I read have non-humans in them, and the anime I watch has non-humans. No one ever talked about it, so I just kind of thought it was normal.” As I spoke the words, I remembered the last eighteen years of life and tried to recall the times when I might have said something to someone.
People always thought I was weird. It was why I didn’t really have any friends and spent all my time studying, playing video games, reading comics, or watching my TV shows.
“You can see our true forms through the TV screen?”
“Damn. This is useful. Didn’t your parents ever say anything to you?”
“They ignore me. Well, they give me money, and food. But they aren’t very interested in talking to me about school or--”
“Shhhh,” Charlotte let go of my right arm and pushed her taloned finger to my lips. Her touch made my head spin, or maybe it was the blood leaving my brain and traveling somewhere else in a hurry. “Did you hear that?” she whispered.
“No,” I gasped.
“My target is here.” She leaned in close to my face and her warm breath tickled my cheek. The sensation made me almost want to faint, but the new wave of terror kept my nerves awake.
“Your target?” I gasped.
“Yes, I transferred to this school so that I could assassinate one of Lucifer’s generals deployed here. Pick up your books,” she commanded, and we both bent over to gather up all my text and comic books.
Once we had them gathered in our arms, Charlotte pulled me toward the boilers. I almost thought about resisting her, but then I realized that I didn’t want to be out here in the open room, and I’d much rather be hiding from whatever the pretty demon girl was hunting. Especially if it meant I’d be in close quarters with her.
“Wait, what? Aren't Lucifer and succubi on the same side? Don’t you both come from Hell?”
“No, Sam. Shit, you really don’t know anything. Lucifer is a devil. Angel really, but he leads the devils from the Abyss. Satan is in Hell.”
“So you work for Satan? What about the angels? What about all the other… uhhh, what do I call them?”
“Angels report to Gabriel. The rest are monsters or supernatural creatures. You really don’t know anything about the war? This is so stupid. I can’t believe you can see us.” She pulled me all the way behind the boilers, and the only light came from the glow of her purple eyes.
“Uhhh no. Are you all fighting each other?”
“Shhh, you are too loud, Scott,” she whispered urgently.
“Sherman,” I breathed. Maybe I should have been offended, but my parents often called me by the incorrect name, so I was used to it.
“My name is Sherman. You called me Sam, then Scott.”
“Oh, sorry, but shut up now if you want to live.”
I closed my mouth and listened to the sound of my terrorized heart slamming into my ribs. Besides the sound of my panic, the hiss and ping of the boilers, and the sexy breathing of Charlotte, I couldn’t really hear anything.
“Fuck, he is coming this way. I’m not even sure if this is my target.” The beautiful girl sighed slightly and shook her head. Or, I guessed that she shook her head, I could only tell because of her glowing eyes.
“How did you know to come down here? Who told you this was your target? Was that the phone call you got?”
“How do you know about my text?” she whispered.
“I was sitting at the table with you in the cafeteria when you got it,” I sighed. This felt like a conversation with my parents.
“Oh, that’s right. I remember now. My target is a devil. He should be a big one, but he is a barbazu.” I felt her press the half of my books that she carried into my arms.
“What does that mean?” Loud footsteps echoed off the stone hallway of the basement, and I leaned in closer to where I thought the girl’s ear was in an attempt to whisper quieter. She smelled like burnt flowers, and the scent made my mouth water.
“Long beard, bald, gray or reddish skin that is really oily. Most of the time they have a big belly.”
“Mr. Roberts looks like that.” The footsteps thumped closer now, and I didn’t think I could say anything else without alerting whoever it was to our presence.
“Hmmm,” the girl let out a soft noise.
Then Mr. Roberts walked into the boiler room.
He stood almost seven feet tall, with a large gray dome of a head, tiny horns angling back from his temples, and a long twisted beard that fell from his tusked maw. His hands were the size of cantaloupes, and his arms were layered with hundreds of veiny muscles. Somewhere under the devil’s teaching uniform, his skin changed from the oily grey to greasy scales that allowed his feet to end in lizard-like claws.
Charlotte was right; I should have gone insane by now. My mind should have cracked like an egg thrown against a brick wall by a professional baseball pitcher. I had just thought all this was normal, and while Mr. Roberts was terrifying to gaze upon, I saw dozens of ‘devils’ every single day. I had gotten used to it.
Except now I knew about this crazy war. I wanted to ask Charlotte more about it, but Mr. Roberts was not even twenty feet away. The big man/monster/devil snorted, and I wondered if he could hear my heart screaming in my chest or smell the terror pouring from my body.
He stood in the center of the crumbling boiler room for what felt like another year, but finally he turned his bulk around and walked back toward the hallway. I realized that I had been holding my breath, and I let it out with a long thankful exhale.
Then the big devil stopped his walk and turned his head slightly.
One of my shoes lay on the ground. It must have fallen off when the succubus yanked me into the air. The devil-teacher bent down at the waist, and I heard him sniff loudly at my sneaker.
I felt Charlotte move from my side.
I wanted to gasp, or grab her, or do anything to keep her from leaving me. I didn’t know if I felt more afraid for her or for my own safety, but a hero shouldn’t worry about his own skin, so I decided that I was probably worried about the love of my life getting smashed by a devil more than twice her size.
My fingers did reactively grab for her arm, but our hiding spot was in perfect darkness, and my fingers just closed around air. She slid between the hissing boilers as quietly as a shadow and then glided behind Mr. Roberts with a gentle spread of her wings.
Then she pounced on his shoulders as he stood from sniffing my shoe.
It was a sudden spring; a movement almost too quick for me to comprehend. Her perfect legs had wrapped around the big devil’s shoulders, and her right arm swung like a scythe into the front of his neck. I couldn’t really see her claws sink into Mr. Roberts’ throat from my hiding spot behind them, but he let out a surprised roar as soon as her attack landed. It seemed like a gallon of dark blood sprayed across the walls on that side of the room, and Charlotte's arm cocked back to make another strike.
I would have thought that the attack would have killed the big devil, but it only seemed to anger him. His melon-sized hands reached up to grab at the demon girl I loved, and his fingers closed around her tiny waist as if she were a doll. Charlotte didn’t seem to mind our teacher’s grasp, since she got three more slashes into the devil’s throat.
Mr. Roberts spun around in the room, and the front of his neck lay open like an angry chainsaw wound. Gallons of pudding-like blood poured from the cut and sprayed across the boilers like a sprinkler. The devil-teacher managed to yank Charlotte off his shoulders, and he flung her at the wall by the rusted-metal desk.
The winged girl tucked into a tight ball, spun through the air like a Ferris wheel, and landed with her feet against the crumbling brick a few feet above the desk. She pushed off the wall like a swimmer would and dove with her claws outstretched toward Mr. Roberts. The devil-teacher tried to smash her back with a hamfist, but he was too slow, and the winged girl slashed a deep cut across the monster’s fat belly.
He screamed, and the gash opened instantly to pour a rancid sack of wiggling intestines, stomach bags, and strange beating organs. My teacher moved his left hand over the wound in an attempt to keep the parts inside of his body, but the cut was really wide, and half of the wiggling tubes sagged around his giant hand.
The devil was still fighting though, and the injury only seemed to piss him off more. He screamed again and swung his right fist at Charlotte. My love was way too fast though, and she ducked under his punch as if performing a playful dance. The big teacher’s knuckles smashed into the brick of the wall like a wrecking ball, and I felt the boilers shake near me.
I missed the succubus’ next series of quick climbing movements, but she was suddenly perched on Mr. Roberts’ shoulder again. Her arms swung back and forth like a crazy fast set of windshield wipers, and then the devil’s head rolled off his thick neck with a fire-hose spray of blackish blood.
His headless bulk of a body collapsed a half second after Charlotte leapt off her perch, executed a single flip, and landed on her feet like a gymnast. The neck of Mr. Roberts’ corpse still sprayed blood, and I saw the dark ichor flow over my lost shoe like an ocean wave.
“It’s done. Let’s go,” Charlotte called over the boilers to me.
I took a gulp of air and stepped between the pipes of the boilers. Then I jumped over the growing pools of smoking devil blood to reach the start of the hallway where the winged girl stood. There was a bit of blood on the ground, so I stood on my one foot that still had a shoe on.
I spared a glance back at Mr. Roberts’ headless corpse. The blood smelled like fresh sewage mixed with copper, and I did my best not to vomit while I balanced next to the girl. He had been a great teacher, and I felt a flurry of conflicting emotions tumble through my stomach.
“We need to get out of the school,” she said once she had pulled me down the hall past the smell of the devil’s corpse.
“He’s not the only devil here. They’ll all know he was just murdered. If we don’t get out of here in a few seconds, they will come looking for us,” Charlotte explained.
“But how will they know we killed him?” I almost winced after I asked the dumb question. My love was practically covered with his dark blood and smelled almost as bad as Mr. Roberts’ bloated gray body.
“They would have felt his death in the basement. We’ve moved quickly though. We just need to make it out of the front doors of the school and then get back to my house.”
She pulled me to the base of the stairs, and her grip tightened on my arm when she sprinted up the steps. The girl practically dragged me now, but I doubted that I was much of a burden since she’d just sawed the head off a monster twice her size. Fortunately, it looked like her hands had changed back into human-looking ones, and I wasn’t worried about the razor-sharp talons ripping through my bicep like they had gone through my friendly physics teacher’s body.
“Hi Charlotte!” a cheerful voice greeted us as soon as we crested the last step and emerged into the brightly-lit hallway.
Charlotte skidded to a halt, and I slammed into her back. It was pretty much like colliding with a wall though. I bounced off her, and she didn’t even seem to notice my collision.
“Hello ladies,” my love greeted cautiously as I peered around her blood-soaked uniform blouse.
Three of the black-winged erinye girls had formed a semicircle around us.
“Where are you going?” asked one of them. Her name was Mia. She wore her long black hair loose over her shoulders, and she also wore her cheerleading outfit instead of the usual school uniform.
All three of them actually wore the bright yellow and purple cheer shirts paired with the shorter skirts. It was Wednesday, and, if I remembered correctly, the basketball team had one of their playoff games tonight. Anyone on the cheerleading squad or the basketball team was allowed to wear their outfits instead of the usual uniform.
“Maybe she’s thinking about cutting class,” said another one of the black-winged cheerleaders. This one had long red hair, and her wings had a crimson hue to the dark feathers. I knew her name was Ashley, and she was the captain of the varsity cheer squad.
“Ohhh, no. That wouldn’t be fair. We are supposed to stay in school… all… day,” moaned the last girl around the stick of a lollipop. Her name was Kelsey, and she had her strawberry-blonde hair styled in bowed pigtails.
All three of the black-winged girls were beyond-a-wet-dream beautiful. The each had perfectly smooth skin, shapely legs, full boobs, and pert butts. They looked just like angels, except for the color of the feathers that extended from their shoulder blades.
And the sharp, evil glow to their eyes.
“I’m heading to history. We have a test.” The brown-haired girl pointed at the clock on the wall above us, “and we are seven minutes late.”
“We?” Ashley asked. The three girls tilted their heads to the side and seemed to notice me.
“Yes, Shawn and I are going to class.” Charlotte’s voice was calm, but her tail twitched against the smooth tile of the school hallway and then brushed against my leg.
“It’s actually Sherman,” I whispered in her ear, but the beautiful succubus ignored my correction.
“--on your uniform?” They trio spoke like something out of a horror movie, with each of them saying a word in the sentence, but with Ashley finishing.
“No, we had an accident,” Charlotte laughed, but it was obvious to me that she forced the cheer. “Seth and I were downstairs in the basement making out, and we broke one of the pipes.” I gasped when she lied about kissing me, and the three gorgeous cheerleaders turned their eyes to me.
“You were making out with him?” Kelsey asked, and I didn’t think her arched eyebrows could get any higher on her perfect forehead.
“Yes,” the succubus answered as she grabbed my arm and pulled me to her side. “He’s my boyfriend.” Charlotte pushed her lips to my cheek, and I felt warmth fill my body from her kiss.
My vision swam. My knees grew weak. I felt as if I was about to float into space.
She. Had. Just. Kissed. Me.
“Ha, he has a boner!” Mia’s laugh ripped me from the pleasurable replay of Charlotte’s kiss. The three cheerleaders, and my dream girl, were all looking down at the crotch of my school pants with obvious amusement.
“Uhhh, s-s-s-sorry,” I stuttered and then moved to put my books over the front of my pants.
“Where is your other shoe?” Kelsey asked.
“Hey, hey. If you three want to make out with him, you’ll have to wait your turn. He is my boyfriend,” Charlotte wrapped her arm around my shoulder and then stuck her cute tongue out at the other girls.
“What are they? Do they have black wings?” my newly-appointed girlfriend moved her lips to my ear and whispered to me.
“Yes,” I hesitantly wrapped my free arm around the girl’s waist and then leaned toward the delicious curve of her neck. She still smelled terrible from Mr. Roberts’ blood, but I didn’t care in the slightest. I couldn’t believe I was actually touching her. This was crazier than what had just happened in the basement.
Charlotte had just kissed me on my cheek. She had told other girls that I was her boyfriend. She had let me wrap my arm around her slender waist. The terror was real, but so was the joy that put a dumb smile on my face.
This was a day filled with unlocked achievements!
Could the black-winged cheerleaders see the blood on her? It seemed that they should have noticed it and also smelled the stench of the devil’s death on us. Maybe they couldn’t see the gore just as Charlotte said they couldn’t see each other’s true forms? Whatever the reason, the cheerleaders weren’t attacking.
“You said a broken pipe? We should go down and look,” Ashley said.
“You care about the school’s plumbing?” the succubus asked with a mocking tone.
“No, but I care if you are lying.”
“Why would you care if I am making out with my boyfriend? You are being weird. Or are you just jealous? Mind your own business.”
The three cheerleaders looked at each other, and, for half a second, it seemed as if they were debating their next move. I had no idea why they didn’t just attack, but my video-game-playing and comic-book-reading mind had come up with a reason that might have made a bit of sense: If everyone looked like a human, then the three erinyes might hesitate to kill someone who they didn’t know for sure was their enemy. Maybe there were rules or something about killing humans, or devils killing demons? I could only guess, but it was looking like we might get out of there without Charlotte having to battle the three hotties.
“Fine, you two lovebirds.”
“Go run along.”
“We’ll go down to the basement and look around,” the three girls spoke again in rapid succession, as if they shared a mind.
“See ya.” Charlotte gave a half wave and then pulled me with her.
“We might just see you soon,” Ashley said, and the two other cheerleaders laughed. The sound was a cross between deliciously sexy and terrifying.
“Simon, tell me about Ashley,” the succubus asked once we had taken twenty hurried steps away from the trio.
“It’s Sherman,” I sighed.
“Oh, right. Damn, I keep forgetting. Sorry.” She glanced behind us and then turned to me. Her face did seem to show that she was upset about forgetting my name.
“That’s okay. What about Ashley?”
“Her hair is red? It looks red to me.”
“Uhhh. Yeah. It is red,” I answered.
“Shit, but you said all three of their wings are black?”
“Well yeah, but Ashley’s kind of have a red tint to the feathers.”
“Fucking shitballs. We need to run.”
“Why does the red on her wings matter?” I asked when my heart surged with another burst of nervous adrenaline. Charlotte hadn’t seemed worried when Mr. Roberts came into the boiler room, but she couldn’t disguise her fear from me now.
“Just shut up and run, please!” She let go of my arm and pointed at the next turn.
It was hard to sprint with only one shoe on, and the winged girl was in much better shape than me. After only ten seconds of the activity, my breath came out in painful rips. She had gained thirty feet, while I slid on my sock-covered foot to slam into the wall of lockers. Charlotte had to sprint back to me, grab my arm, and tug me after her.
Then a scream welled up from the corridor behind us. It was unbelievably loud, and the combination locks on the wall of lockers rattled in resonance. Even the florescent light bulbs seemed to dim in synch with the scream. The pain of the shriek seemed to worm into my eardrums, and I had to cover my head with my arms while I tried to run.
“You Hellspawn bitch!” There was no mistaking Ashley’s voice. She had emitted the scream, and it caused a pane of glass to break on the award-display mount on the wall next to us.
“Shit! Go, go, go!” Charlotte yanked on my arm again.
“Charlotte!” Ashley let out another scream from far behind us, and this time it was joined by two other female shrieks. I guessed Mia and Kelsey.
“Damn it, Shawn! You are too slow; they are going to catch us!” Charlotte yelled at me. Even though she ran not even a foot away from me, her voice was still a tenth as loud as Ashley’s screech.
“Fire alarm!” I pointed at the red switch up ahead. “Everyone will come out of class!”
“Great idea!” she yelled as she yanked me toward the wall and flipped the switch.
The shriek of the alarm rang almost as loud as Ashley’s earlier screams, but we didn’t wait to see if our schoolmates exited the classroom. We were still in the middle of the hallways, and there was probably another two hundred yards of twists and turns before we made it to the front entrance.
“Charlotte!” the scream sounded again, and I risked a glance over my shoulder while the purple-winged succubus tugged me on.
The three black-winged cheerleaders had turned the corner and were only a hundred feet behind us.
They looked really pissed off.
I tripped, but then Charlotte’s hands caught me under the armpits and pulled me upright. She was still running, or actually flying backwards with powerful flaps of her wings. I felt my legs lift off the floor, and my other shoe dropped from my foot.
It was probably the least of my worries.
The doors of a few classrooms opened in front of us, and I looked back again to see the hallways fill with more monster students exiting their classes because of the alarm. My plan had worked perfectly, and the trio of super-beautiful cheerleader devil girls would have to push through the crowd of high schoolers to reach us.
Then I saw Ashley, Kelsey, and Mia float into the air above the heads of the crowd.
Oh shit, I had forgotten about their wings.
“They are gaining on us! Leave me behind! Save yourself!” I yelled over the sound of the fire alarm to the woman who I loved.
I meant the words. My skin had already felt a kiss from the beautiful purple-eyed succubus. I’d heard her claim me as her boyfriend to other girls. How much better could my life actually get? If I died protecting her, then it would be a true hero’s death, and I welcomed the opportunity.
“Shut up, idiot!” she yelled as she stopped her wings and glided us down to the tile of the hallway.
“You are too fucking slow. I’m going to have to fight them here,” she growled and pushed me behind her wings.
Charlotte had sounded scared of Ashley a few moments ago, but now her wonderful face looked committed to the act of battle. I took a step back from her and bumped into someone.
I turned to see Jake standing there. He was on the football team, and his thick pelt of hair, combined with his wide stance, had always made me think of him as some sort of sasquatch. He turned to glare at me, but then his big eyes focused on the approaching attack formation of the three erinyes.
“Holy shit! Flying babes!” Jake’s deep voice boomed like a timpani drum over the symphony of the fire alarm. He pointed, and I saw half of the kids behind Charlotte turn to watch the three girls dive toward the woman I loved.
Ashley came in first, and her arms had taken on the same kind of taloned form that Charlotte's had in the basement. The redhead’s sleek body formed a pointed javelin, but the succubus spun out of the way in the last fraction of a second. The dark-angel cheerleader dove past as if my girlfriend was a professional matador and had used her purple wings as a distracting cape.
Mia landed and swept her long talons at Charlotte’s face, but my girlfriend ducked under the clawed slap, and then shot up with a floating uppercut that hit the black-haired erinye at the base of her jaw. Charlotte actually lifted into the air with the attack, and Mia was spun backwards from the powerful impact as if she was a flipped coin.
It looked just like a Darkstalkers fighting game move that Lilith would have delivered, and I almost cheered from the sidelines, but I didn’t, because I was also terrified of the onslaught.
Kelsey dashed toward Charlotte’s back, but my girlfriend seemed to guess that the blonde cheerleader was coming, and the succubus spun around to deliver a perfect roundhouse kick to the beautiful girl’s face. I heard Kelsey’s skull crack, or maybe it was her teeth, over the sound of the fire alarm, and the third erinye flew into the crowd of monster students as if she weighed less than a pound.
“You’ll pay for th--” Ashley had started to say, but Charlotte was standing right above Mia’s prone body, and the succubus brought her foot down onto the raven-haired cheerleader’s back. The sound of Mia’s spine shattering, and her scream of pain, had cut off Ashley’s sentence.
“Demon bitch!” Ashley’s eyes seemed to turn into pits of fire, and the redhead dashed toward Charlotte with a blur of movement that I couldn’t comprehend.
My girlfriend took a defensive stance, and her arms moved to block the various attacks that Ashley aimed at her. First there were a series of cutting scratches that Charlotte pulled away from, and then there were jabs combined with roundhouse punches. Each of these my succubus managed to parry with her forearms. Then Ashley threw out kicks that exhibited her cheerleading expertise; each of these was a display of amazing leg strength and flexibility. The redhead’s short skirt flapped up with each kick to expose the entire length of her long legs, and if I hadn’t had been so conflicted about Ashley trying to cave my girlfriend’s face in with each strike, I might have been really aroused.
Charlotte had knocked the first four kicks away from her own face, but when Ashley launched the fifth, my girlfriend crouched down and swept out her own perfectly shaped leg. The side of her foot caught the black-winged devil cheerleader on the knee, and I saw the erinye's supporting leg buckle. Ashley screamed, but, instead of falling down to the ground on the broken leg, her black wings beat in the air.
The redhead launched toward the ceiling and then came down on my love with both of her knees aimed at Charlotte’s back. My girlfriend attempted to roll out of the way, but Ashley seemed to have expected it, and the two girls collided into a ball of claws, hair, wings, and screeching.
None of my schoolmates had said anything during the short battle, but the crowd shifted away from the two wrestling girls when they rolled near the edge of the cleared hallway space. I noticed that there were half a dozen other gray-skinned devil-looking creatures in the crowd, but a quick scan didn’t reveal anyone that I would have thought was a demon. Then again, I didn’t really know who would have been an ally of Charlotte.
The girls’ tumbling stopped with Ashley sitting on my love’s stomach like she was riding a bucking bronco. The redhead grabbed both of Charlotte’s wrists with her hands, and it looked as if she was actually the stronger of the two. The cheerleader leaned forward, and it became apparent that my love couldn’t keep her arms up against the force of the black-winged devil girl.
Charlotte did have a tail though, and Ashley didn’t. The purple leathery appendage suddenly snaked over Ashley’s shoulder, and the scorpion tip pressed into the dark angel’s slender neck. The sting didn’t seem to bother the girl on top, and a wide smile came to her red lips.
“Idiot, your poison doesn’t work on me,” Ashley growled, and her arms seemed to gain sudden strength. “I’ve been wondering if you were a demon ever since you got here. Now I’m going to drink the life from your twitching body. Another one of Satan’s soldiers wiped from the map. You are close to losing, but at least you won’t be alive to watch your lord kneel before us.”
The redhead had forced Charlotte’s arms down to the polished tiles of the hallway, and the cheerleader angled her mouth toward my girlfriend’s exposed neck. Charlotte’s teeth gnashed, and she made a sudden biting motion toward the black-winged girl, but Ashley was too quick and pulled her own perfect face out of the way. It was only a temporary victory though, and the redhead made another biting attempt half a second later.
I needed to do something. It was obvious that Ashley was ten seconds away from biting Charlotte on the neck or shoulder. I didn’t know exactly what would happen if an erinye chomped someone, but I couldn’t just stand here and watch my new girlfriend get gnawed to death by the head cheerleader.
What could I do? I didn’t know how to fight. If this was a video game, then I knew I could kick everyone’s ass, but this was real life. I didn’t even workout, and while I wasn’t overweight, I couldn’t really manage more than a few push-ups. I’d gotten winded just running down the hallway. None of that mattered though. Ashley’s mouth was diving toward Charlotte’s throat, and if I didn’t help, my soul mate was going to die.
Was I a stalker or a hero?
Was I a creep? A nerd just fantasizing about my dream girl?
Would I ever make anything of my life? No one had ever seemed to care about me. My parents couldn’t even remember my name half the time, but then this beautiful girl had pulled me behind her so that she might protect me. She should have just left me and escaped. She hadn’t though. Charlotte had stayed by my side.
“Get off her!” The scream uncoiled from my lungs like a fiery whip. The command seared my throat, and my entire body suddenly felt strange. This wasn’t terror. It was another feeling that made every muscle in my body weigh a hundred times more.
I had tried to step toward Ashley. I had wanted to push her off the pinned succubus woman, but I couldn’t move. My arms wouldn’t work.
The only thing I could do was scream.
“Herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” It felt like a monster was clawing out of my throat, and a flood of tears poured out of my eyes from the incredible pain.
The tiled floor of the hallway dented like a bowl, the surrounding walls caved, and all the lights in the ceiling above me shattered into a rain of diamond-coated electricity. My schoolmates felt the energy, and the crowd of them watching the fight fell away from me as if they were tossed dominos.
Ashley seemed to have borne the brunt of my strange shout, and the black-winged supermodel had brought her hands up to her ears to protect herself from my scream. She had forgotten about Charlotte, and the succubus pushed the redhead away with her hands and then kicked the girl with both her feet.
The head cheerleader flew across the hallway as if she was attached to a movie wire set, and she made a small crater in the tiled wall a few feet from me. She collapsed on the floor with a dead bounce, and I saw her ears begin to leak blood.
I couldn’t stop screaming.
I couldn’t move.
I couldn’t-- Suddenly Charlotte’s hands were on my shoulders, and her purple eyes distracted me. My voice cut off with a very unmanly whine, and a wave of intense dizziness assaulted me. I really wanted a drink of water, and to lie down, and to eat five hamburgers, all at the same time.
“What the fuck?” Jake was still standing next to me, and I saw the big hairy beast hold his arms out to stare at them in amazement.
Murmurs of shock rang through the hallways, and the crowd of students all looked down at their bodies. Then they looked at the kids standing next to them. I didn’t understand what had caused their surprise until Charlotte whispered.
“I can see them.”
“Huh?” I gasped, and then I felt her arm circle my shoulders to keep me standing.
“I can see them,” she hissed urgently in my ear. “Did you do that, Seth?”
“I don’t know. I feel really tired.”
“How can this be?” Jake’s voice asked from beside me.
“I can see you bro, woah!” Tommy the vampire stood next to his friend, and he pointed at the hair on Jake’s arm. “You are a sasquatch!”
“And you are a vampire.” Jake’s voice was dark and deep.
“I know bro, crazy. We’ve been friends for what? Three years? I never would have guessed,” Tommy’s mouth turned into a smirk that exposed his twin fangs.
“I should have guessed.” Jake’s giant fist suddenly shot out and smashed into Tommy’s face. The vampire’s head exploded like an overripe watermelon that had just been hit by a freight train, and a shower of brain, skull fragments, and blood descended on the gathered school kids.
Silence cut through the hallways as the gathered creatures stared stupidly at the headless corpse of Tommy the vampire.
Then the war erupted at my school.
“Come on, Shane!” Charlotte screamed and pulled on my arm.
The bleeding upper half of a lizard man flew across the hallway, and I ducked under the bloody mass. The entire corridor had erupted into a chaos of monster combat, and there wasn’t any square foot of peace that I could see.
A werewolf named Brandon chomped on the arm of a devil named Andrew. A weretiger named Paul wrestled with a troll named Hank. Jacob the oni was biting through the stomach of Sakura the tengu.
And I saw Stacey, the hottest vampire girl at the school, get her arm ripped off by the angel hunk Jason. The two of them had been dating for the last year and were Homecoming Queen and King.
Then a pair of werewolf girls, Rachel and Monique, jumped on Jason. The white-winged football quarterback fell down with a shriek of pain and a puff of bloody feathers, and I felt some sort of weird satisfaction that the two girls had avenged their vampire friend.
Blood, screams, cries, and panic filled my awareness like a boiled-over pot of water.
“Stop standing around, Skyler!” My girlfriend yanked on my arm again and pulled me into the thick of combat.
“Wait! Where are we going?” I screamed as an ogre tried to kick Charlotte in the face.
“We need to get out of here!” she dodged the clumsy kick by stepping to the side and then stabbed her clawed fingers into the ogre’s groin. The big, wart-covered, green-haired monster screamed in agony and then bent over to clutch the gaping hole in his jeans. The succubus seemed to have expected the move, and her clawed talons were already waiting for his exposed neck. His throat opened like a gutted fish, and the tall ogre flopped onto the tiled floor with the twitch of death spasms.
“Watch out!” I shouted to the brown-haired girl.
A pair of dark-skinned elves fought a white-furred yeti, and the trio suddenly decided to turn their attention to my girlfriend. The two elves were Raymond and Demitri, but I had never really seen them hang out at school together. Raymond dove toward Charlotte’s legs, and Demitri threw a wild haymaker at her face. The yeti was named Eddy, and I had always thought him a really nice guy, but now he seemed to be circling around my girlfriend while the two drow distracted her.
It almost seemed as if Charlotte was fighting with children. The succubus casually stuck her left foot out and caught Raymond in the face with a frontal kick. He had already been diving toward her, so it almost looked like my girlfriend had just decided to use his nose as a step. She casually brushed aside Demitri’s clumsy punch with a twist of her right wrist, and then she drove her sharp nails into his eye sockets as easily as if I would dip my hand into bathwater.
“You want some of this, asshole?” Charlotte shouted at Eddy as she ripped the front half of Demitri’s face away from the rest of his skull with a wet snap.
Eddy’s big blue eyes opened, and he shook his white furry head.
“Good,” she said as she tossed most of Demitri’s face onto the tile and stepped over his dead drow body.
A single bloody angel wing flew through the air and stuck to the ceiling. A blast of fire erupted when a draco toasted a group of goblins. A naga slid at Charlotte, but the succubus pulled me behind a minotaur fighting with a vampire and an insect-looking devil. It felt as if we had trucked across a thousand yards of battle, but then I realized we had only made it a few classroom doors away from where my girlfriend had thrown Ashley.
“Charlotte!” The screech cut over the sound of the battle and the fire alarm.
We both spun to see the red-haired devil cheerleader levitate into the air with a beat of her dark wings. She was only thirty, maybe forty feet away. All she needed to do was swoop towards us and Charlotte would have to battle her in the thick, chaotic melee.
“In here, Steve!” I saw my girlfriend yank open a thick classroom door and dart inside.
I took the three steps after her and ducked under a spray of sticky web that Jenna the spider girl shot out at a dog-faced-looking celestial creature. The webbing hadn’t hit me, and I kind of felt surprised that none of my school mates had tried to murder me. I would have figured that I was an easy target.
“This won’t hold her forever,” Charlotte said as she slammed the metal door behind me and engaged the lock.
“Why is everyone fighting each other?” It was probably a dumb question, but I didn’t understand why seeing each other in their non-human forms meant that they should begin a deadly battle.
“When we drop our human forms, it means we intend to battle for our side. It is the rules.”
“Rules? This is crazy? Who makes the rules?”
“You’ve seen us your entire life, but now you suddenly think it’s crazy?” she smirked at me while she jerked a classroom desk off the floor. The chair-table combination popped into the air as if it weighed less than half a pound, but it easily shattered most of the glass in the far windows.
“But why fight now? Why do you all see each other?” I asked her as she picked up another desk and threw it out of the classroom. There was a clear spot now for us to escape into the quad.
“Run now. Talk later, Stanley.”
“Sherman,” I corrected.
“Shit, that is right. Sorry, I will remember next time.” She winked at me, and my heart almost cartwheeled out of my chest.
Okay. Everything was worth it.
A slam sounded against the door, and we sprung away from that side of the room.
Another slam, and a dent formed in the middle of the door.
“Shit. She is strong. You don’t have a car do you?” she asked as she ran toward the broken window.
“No, just a bicycle.”
“That won't help us escape. I don’t think I can beat her. Hurry!” She had dived out of the window and beckoned to me from the outside.
I carefully stepped out of the window and tried to avoid the broken glass on the ground. I had another set of shoes at home, but the pair at school had been my favorite, and I didn’t even think that we were going to swing by my place. Charlotte had mentioned her own house, and I wondered what would happen if we got there.
Would we be able to kiss again? The thought made my mind spin with pleasure, but then I heard the door boom behind me. I shouldn’t be thinking about anything besides escaping the school with my life still clinging to my body parts.
“Shit. They are fighting out here as well.” She gestured to the other side of the quad. I could see the battle raging where the other school buildings sat. The melee had spilled out into the quad through broken windows, and I guessed that the building over there hadn’t heard my fire alarm, so whatever had happened to let them see each other’s true form must have occurred during the class session.
We ran toward the school exit and almost made it across the grassy area of the quad space, but then the familiar shriek sounded behind us. Charlotte and I turned in time to see Ashley launch herself into the air.
We were also in time to see one of the desks flying toward us at warp speed.
“Oaaafff!” I felt the air leave my chest when the succubus pushed me away from her. The desk smashed into the grass where we had stood half a second earlier, and I saw it bounce another ten feet into the air.
“Die!” Ashley gestured with her hands from the air, and half a dozen bolts of red fire sprang to life from her fingers.
I had never seen real magic. Sure, there had been the stuff on TV, or in the movies, but the fire shooting out of Ashley’s taloned hands looked like jet rocket shock diamonds. The individual streaks of magma dove toward Charlotte like hunting falcons.
The brunette succubus sprinted away from me faster than an Olympic athlete, and the bolts of fire banked toward her running form. Ashley's six missiles were slightly slower to turn, and one of the flames smashed into the grass with a splatter of napalm. The other five scraped against the ground and began to close the distance. Charlotte didn’t look back over her shoulder as she ran, and it became apparent that she was taking a line toward the far side of the quad where the other monsters battled.
My girlfriend jumped over the melee of wolf monsters fighting lizard and insect creatures, and then her wings kind of kicked upward to make her dive into the battle. I couldn’t see her from that distance and through the bulk of the warring kids, but the seeking flame bolts didn’t make the same diving move that Charlotte had. Instead they just crashed straight into the lines of the high school monsters.
I had guessed that the flames would have been deadly from their magma-like glow and the spot of grass that seemed to have turned into a lava pit where the first missile landed, but I hadn’t really expected the kids to ignite as if they were scarecrows doused in gasoline and lit on fire with a grenade. Their bodies imploded with sparks of brilliant white-red light and then almost instantly turned into standing piles of ash.
Charlotte sprang into the air a fraction of a second after the bolts of flame incinerated five of my schoolmates. The succubus girl held a pile of glass shards on her left hand, and she threw them in rapid succession across the quad at Ashley like a ninja would toss shuriken. I was half surprised and half proud of my girlfriend’s accuracy with the shimmering projectiles. The redheaded cheerleader hung in the air a good seventy feet away, but the shards of glass flew toward the black-winged girl as if they were aimed machine-gun fire.
Ashley’s left wing slid around her torso and deflected the first barrage of flying shrapnel. The glass somehow bounced off the black feathers as if the wing was made out of steel. Charlotte seemed to have guessed that would happen, and two of the daggers sank into the cheerleader’s perfectly shaped legs right below the knees.
“Hellspawn bitch whore!” the erinye shrieked and tossed a black globe of power through the air of the quad.
This magic didn’t look as deadly as the earlier firebolts. Well, it still looked like a terrifying baseball of pure death-filled hatred, but it didn’t seem to have any sort of seeking ability. Charlotte used her own pink leathery wing as Ashley had just used her black-feathered one, except my girlfriend’s block of the baseball ‘o death actually launched the projectile back toward the redhead like a streaking comet.
Ashley didn’t expect the return.
The bolt of black flaming smoke smashed into the cheerleader’s chest between her Victoria’s Secret-model breasts and exploded into a cloud of fog. The girl screamed, and her floating body twisted briefly in the air before she plummeted to the ground. Ashley hit the grass hard a dozen feet from where I stood, but the ground was soft, and her shoulders seemed to take most of the impact.
I didn’t know if I should continue to run toward the school exit or if I should try to meet up with Charlotte. The indecision, combined with the sensation of my sock-covered feet sinking into the soft grass, tied my brain up in knots, and I could do little more than stare like an idiot.
Then my eyes found Ashley again, and I let out a gasp.
The black-fire baseball had burnt away all the cheerleader’s clothes, and she lay naked on top of her folded black wings, with her legs spread toward me.
My head spun as if I was seasick, my vision blurred like I was blinded by the sun, and I felt the padding of the grass through the knees of my school pants. I’d seen naked women before, I was eighteen and had access to the internet, but I’d never seen one in real life. Ashley wasn’t just an average girl either. She was the captain of the varsity cheerleading squad as well as one of the prettiest girls at school; that was saying a lot since nearly every single girl at my school could have appeared on a magazine cover.
I tried to keep my eyes on the grass below me, but it seemed like my eyeballs were made of iron and Ashley’s body was a super-powerful rare-earth magnet. I couldn’t help but focus on her lean legs, the arch of her hip bones, the swell of her breasts, the pinkness of her pert nipples, and the neatly trimmed spot of matching red pubic hair above the opening to her--
“Hey, Sterling!” I felt hands shake me, and I almost jumped out of my skin with surprise.
“Ahhh!” I jerked my head away from Ashley’s figuratively and literally smoking body. Charlotte had somehow come to stand next to me, and she had placed both her hands on my shoulder.
“I need to finish her off.” The succubus’ lips formed a smirk, and I could tell that my girlfriend knew I was ogling her archenemy.
Guilt filled my stomach as I watched the brown-haired girl walk to the unconscious body of the cheerleader. I shouldn’t have looked at Ashley like that. I had a girlfriend now, and I loved Charlotte, had loved her from the moment I saw her. Ashley, Mia, Kelsey, and the hundreds of other girls at school were all beautiful, but none had captured my heart like the purple-winged succubus. I needed to apologize to her as soon as I got the chance.
“Look out!” I yelled at her half a second after I noticed a squadron of black-winged hotties fly out of the second-story window of the distant class building. I didn’t recognize them, so they were probably freshmen or sophomores, but I did recognize the red lavabolts that the screaming dark angels were summoning.
Charlotte dove away from Ashley’s naked body, and the ground between them exploded into fiery grass. These red missiles looked the same as the ones that the head cheerleader had summoned, but they didn’t seem to have the heat-seeking ability and just launched like arrows at my love.
“Fuck! Run!” Charlotte picked me up like a rag doll, and my feet didn’t touch the ground for a good ten yards of her sprint.
We got to the end of the grassy area ,and my shoeless feet pounded painfully on the concrete walkways of the quad. I heard the firebolts crash into the ground behind us, and I felt the heat of their blasts toast my wet socks. Charlotte had let go of my arm so that I might run faster, but it was apparent from the sounds behind us that I couldn’t outpace the magic that the beautiful winged girls were launching at us.
My girlfriend grabbed my arm as soon as we reached the edge of the last building, and I felt my shoulder almost pull out of my socket. She had yanked me into the air again and then launched us both sideways behind the building with a massive beat of her left wing. I was so surprised that I didn’t even have a chance to yelp, and I suddenly found myself lying on top of the girl’s lithe body with my face pressed against her firm breasts.
There was no time to enjoy the position though; Charlotte pushed me off of her and leapt to her feet using another beat of her purple bat wings. We stood fifty yards from the school exit now, and there was just a tall fence standing between us and the open road. The black-winged girls would continue to pursue us, but we could probably lose them among the buildings of our city.
But there were three massive devils guarding the school exit.
They stood almost eight feet tall, covered with lizard-like spikes and scales. I would have actually thought them dragon creatures, or maybe super-strong lizardman varieties, but their eyes burned with a coal fire, and their movements had always seemed closer to those of Mr. Roberts than the smooth, snake-like twitches of the lizardboys and girls in my school.
Mr. Albert was the PE teacher, and although he had seemed like a hardass to the other kids in my class, he only rolled his fiery eyes when I made my pull-up attempts. Then he told me to go read in a corner.
Mr. Jackson was the ancient history teacher, and I’d enjoyed his class in my freshman year. The devil-dragon-man was very passionate about Greek culture and had one day brought in his personal collection of vases with the two-dimensional artwork.
Mr. Lafferty was one of the school counselors, and while he hadn’t advised me on my community college choice, he recalled my name more often than anyone else I could ever remember. At least one in four times he actually used ‘Sherman’ instead of ‘kid’ or ‘guy’ or some other name.
The three dragon-devils turned their burning eyes toward us, and then I noticed that they each had swords strapped to their scaled waists. They promptly pulled the blades from their sheaths. Each of the weapons was saw-edged, and a strange gray misty smoke clung to the surface of the metal. As if they had just been pulled from a vat of dry ice.
“Abyss blades. Shit,” Charlotte cursed and gestured to a door on our side of the building. As I recalled, it was the side entrance to the main faculty lounge, but I had never been inside.
“Run Sheldon!” My girlfriend was already sprinting toward the door, and I winced again when the balls of my feet slammed into the hard concrete.
The door was locked, but the brown-haired succubus girl just growled a bit, and I heard something break by the knob. The door swung open, and she pushed me through. Her shove was harder than I would have expected, and I flew across the room before I landed in the soft embrace of a musty couch.
“This won’t hold them for long.” There was a bar on the door, and Charlotte slid the thin piece of metal into place before she backed away.
“Ummm, my name is Sherman.” I didn’t know why I was correcting her anymore, but it seemed like my girlfriend should be calling me by my actual name.
“Right, sorry. I’m occupied with these assholes.”
The knob twisted, and a trio of terrorizing growls sounded on the other side of the piece of metal. The bar bent against the weight of a sharp pull, and then I heard a snap on the other end. I guessed that one of the dragon-devils had yanked the handle off the door. It was a lucky break, and I guessed that it would be harder for the teachers to pull the door off without the knob.
The sawed blade of a sword cut through the metal of the door like it was a tin can.
“Shit!” both Charlotte and I said at once.
“This way.” Her fingers enfolded with mine, and she nodded toward the only other door out of the room.
I let her pull me into the hallway while I gazed at her hand. It had turned human-looking to touch me, and I realized that our relationship had reached another achievement level: Holding hands. Even though I felt terror gnawing at my stomach, and I was almost certain that both of us were going to die, I couldn’t help but smile at her gentle touch. This was all worth it. As long as I could hold her hand and recall the kiss she had given me on my cheek.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are!” I heard Ashley’s voice come from the opposite side of the building to the three reptilian devils. There was a giggle of a dozen girly voices, and I realized that we were really screwed.
“Damn it,” Charlotte sighed and then glanced around the room at the end of the hallway. It was the main office of the school, and, other than a ringing phone line, there was no other sign of life in the cubicle space.
“Ugh. Here, I guess.” She pulled me down another hallway. There was a thick wooden door with the blue bathroom logo, and the beautiful winged girl pushed open the door, pulled me inside, and closed the door after me.
She slid closed the metal deadbolt on the door and engaged the tiny barrel lock at the top of the frame. It was a ridiculous gesture since the barrel thingy was like two inches long and maybe a quarter of an inch thick. Our enemies wouldn’t even know it was there when they kicked in the door.
“Well, I guess I accomplished my mission,” Charlotte said with a sigh as she slid her wings against the wood of the thick door and sat on the tiled floor. The bathroom contained just a toilet and a sink, maybe only ten feet wide by eight feet long.
“You were amazing,” I whispered to her. I should have felt beyond terrified, but my nerves felt as calm as a still lake.
My stomach didn’t feel nauseous anymore. In fact, I felt a strange sense of fulfillment. A part of me had given up on life and love. I’d just accepted that I would always be alone. I would always be living a wonderful life vicariously through my videogames. People just didn’t like me, or even notice my existence. Even when I got out of college, I had planned on finding a simple office job and then living the rest of my life as a hermit.
But today had changed all of my assumptions. When I first saw Charlotte three months ago, I had fallen in love with her. I knew I had probably been really creepy about my affection for the beautiful girl, but I also knew that it would have never mattered, since there was no way she would have ever been my girlfriend. Now I’d talked to her, I’d felt her lips on my cheek, I’d held her hand.
She had told other girls that I was her boyfriend.
“If only I could have gotten us to my house. We would have escaped.” The gorgeous girl sighed and then leaned the back of her head against the wood of the door.
“They wouldn’t have followed us to your house?” I sat on the tile floor under the sink across from her.
“Maybe. Probably. It wouldn’t have mattered. I would have opened a portal, and we could have left this realm.”
“Uhh, what does that mean? You can do that?” I felt stupid for asking, but I didn’t want to spend the last seconds of our life in silence.
“Yes, well, I need human blood to paint the rune circle. I’ve got gallons of the stuff in my fridge at home,” she sighed again, and I heard the sound of the distant lounge door giving up its life.
“Human blood?” my voice squeaked when I asked the question.
“Yeah. Human bloo--” her voice cut off as she looked at me with sudden interest.
Or maybe it was hunger.
“Ahhhh, how much blood do you need?” My voice was decidedly unmanly, and we both stood up together.
I took a few steps away from the beautiful girl.
“Oh, not that much. A pint or two should do it.” Her eyes glowed a faint purple, and her lips twisted into an unbelievably sexy smile.
“A pint or two?” My back pressed against the cold wall of the bathroom.
“Or three. Sometimes I mess up the runes and have to start over. Hold out your wrist, please.”
“Umm, wait. Is t-t-t-there another w-w-way to do it? Does it have to be my bl-bl-blood?” I was more than a little terrified of seeing my own blood. I’d once cut my finger when chopping vegetables and had fainted.
“You are the only human here. Unless you want to die? Do you want to die? Or would you rather come with me and live a while longer?” Her voice was unbelievably sexy, as if she was licking every part of my eardrum with her words.
“No. I want to live,” I gasped and felt my erection push painfully against my school pants. This was not the right time to become aroused.
“Goooooood,” she purred as she ran her soft-looking tongue over her full lips. “Now hold out your hand. Palm up. Hurry.”
I followed her orders and raised my right palm. Her hands still looked human, but she slid her pointer finger across my wrist where the biggest group of veins seemed to be. Nothing happened for a moment, but then my skin parted with a perfect red line and blood began to swell to the surface with a surprising swiftness.
I hadn’t even felt the cut. Or any pain. Her nails must have been vorpal sharp.
“Ummm, you smell good.” Charlotte’s voice was a moan, and she dabbed the pad of her finger into my red life juice.
“Ahhh, taste good too. I’m surprised a vampire hasn’t murdered you yet. O negative is rare.” The girl had licked the tip of her finger in a suggestive manner, and the intense pain from my crotch made me forget about the slit on my wrist, the blood dripping on the tiles, or the horde of devils searching for us.
There was a ripping sound, and I looked down to see Charlotte yanking a big piece of cloth from her uniform skirt. The garment wasn’t as short as the cheerleader’s outfits, but the removal of the piece was enough to expose most of my love’s perfect legs and her knee-high socks. My head swam again, and I began to feel nauseous. I tried not to look at the blood pouring from my wrist, but it flowed out like an angry waterfall now.
The succubus ripped the cloth again and wrapped a smaller piece around her finger before she drenched it with my blood. She dropped to the tile of the bathroom in a crouch and drew a three-foot-diameter circle. Charlotte put a pentagram in the middle of the shape, and each of the points met the edge of the circle. It was a shape that I had seen in many video games and on metal band albums, but watching her paint it with my blood was all sorts of scary.
There was a knock on the door.
I almost gasped with fright, but Charlotte just ignored the sound, leapt to her feet, and wetted the cloth on her finger with more of my blood before she continued her drawing. The points of the pentagram were getting strange symbols painted above them. It almost looked like Latin writing, but the letters seemed to twist and turn when I tried to study them.
“I can smell you in here!” Ashley’s pretty voice made a mocking sing-song from the other side of the door. “Just come out and I’ll make it quick. I really don’t want to fight in an icky bathroom.” There was another knock on the door.
“Almost done,” Charlotte whispered to me. I nodded, but the world spun dramatically now. I could smell my own coppery blood, and the stench made me feel sicker than Mr. Roberts’ death odor had.
Ashley started pounding on the door, and a patch of drywall fell from the ceiling by the sink. My heart was racing, and my vision started to blacken. The back of my sweaty head leaned against the cold tile, and I tried to focus on anything but the pounding of the door, the insane symbols that Charlotte was drawing, or the endless amount of blood waterfalling from my wrist.
There was little else to focus on.
“Kalan nanbaa arrritttoo iwwarrsheee byy fffaarlo attarrruiii maann icaaan iii teee.”
I realized that I had forced my eyes shut, and I opened them to observe Charlotte standing in the middle of the pentagram. The beautiful girl was chanting over the sounds of the breaking bathroom door, and a reddish-purple glow seemed to be pulsing from her perfect skin. Her brown hair floated to the ceiling as if gravity was reversed. Little particles of thick, liquid-like crimson color also rose from the circle she had painted with my blood, and I saw a giant crack form in the door beyond my girlfriend.
“Yes!” Charlotte yelled with glee as she stepped out of the circle.
A doorway… no, a portal had appeared where she had once stood. Through the shimmering oval, I saw a lava-drenched landscape covered with twisted burnt trees, crawling worms the size of school busses, and distant mushroom clouds of obliteration.
“Wait, where is this?” I gasped the question as the door splintered again. I saw that there was actually metal within the wood. It explained why it was taking Ashley so long to destroy it.
“It is Hell, of course.” My girlfriend said it as if I was a complete idiot.
Maybe I was. No. I definitely was a complete idiot.
“Is it safe for me to go there?” I asked as the beautiful succubus girl hastily wrapped my wrist with the remainder of her torn-off skirt.
“Sure, as long as you are with me. But I have no idea what my lord will do with you,” she replied casually as she finished bandaging my wound.
“Wait, but, ummm. Can we talk about this? I don’t think I want to go.”
“Haha, why not?”
“It seems dangerous. Your lord? Do you mean Satan?” As I said the words, the tip of one of the saw-toothed ‘Abyss blades’ slammed through the metal of the bathroom door.
“Yes. He’ll want to meet you. Will probably devour your soul to learn your magic, but he might torture you for a few hundred years before that happens.”
“What! No! This is crazy. Charlotte, I th-th-thought that you liked me?” I screamed, and a larger part of the sword crashed through the door.
“Liked you?” she asked with a puzzled tilt of her head.
“You saved me,” my voice came out as a whine. “I saved you too.” My whine had faded to a whimper.
“Oh, you silly boy.” Her fingers brushed across my face, and she licked her wonderful lips. “I saved you because I wanted to gift you to my lord. There has never been a human like you born, and, if he can figure out your magic, it could give us an edge in the war. I’ll also get a rather tasty promotion. Maybe I’ll be gifted with new powers. Oh, oh, oh, don’t cry, pet,” she sighed and then pulled my chin toward her face.
Her full lips met mine, and her talented tongue pushed into my mouth. This was a French kiss, and my fear suddenly vanished like a fire doused with water. The girl moaned into my mouth with obvious enjoyment, and every part of my body filled with joy, pleasure, and luscious arousal.
Too soon, the kiss broke, and I let out eighteen years of angst with a long exhale.
“There, see? That was delicious.” She licked her lips again, and her purple eyes pulsed like a burning fire. “Now it is time to go, Sherman. The Lord of Hell awaits both of us.” Charlotte moaned the words, grabbed me by the injured wrist, and pulled me with her into the portal.
Just as Ashley broke through the bathroom door.
The dark angel screamed when she saw us dive into Hell, and I screamed from the sudden pain that crashed into my soft body. It felt as if a thousand fire-ants were biting me. It felt as if my mind was being torn asunder by thirty migraine headaches, and it felt like someone had injected ten pints of mercury into my heart.
My vision turned to fire, my skin felt as if it was melting away, and the cheerleader’s gorgeous face swirled like one of those spin-table paintings. I was falling, no swimming, no tumbling through an endless void, and it felt like I would never gain my footing again.
But hey, at least Charlotte had finally remembered my name.
She had also kissed me full on the lips, with tongue, and had seemed to enjoy the experience.
ULTIMATE ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!
The end... for now
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After untold centuries of absence, the evil Ancients have returned. Their magic appears unstoppable and their hunger for conquest is insatiable. To protect the country of Nia, Duchess Nadea and Scholar Paug make a desperate journey to find a human legend: A man known to have destroyed these Ancient foes with a powerful army.
But legends can lie.
When Paug and Nadea revive their hero from sleep, his virtue is far from clear.
Is he really their Savior or their Destroyer?
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I'm currently working on a space opera series and have outlines for a supernatural horror series, a Western horror series, a futurist cyber-punk series, a comedic fantasy series, and a series in the Destroyer universe that will take place a few months after the end of book 4.
When I am not working or writing, I enjoy cycling (road and mountain), guitar/bass guitar playing, esoteric music, reading, exercising, and spending time with my family.
Check out www.michaelscottearle.com for more info.