natural heathenMature

Chapter Seven
Agaton; rhetoric
Word count: 669

He moved fluidly, with all the unnatural grace of the underworldly.  Demetrius followed him closely, his steps less than a heartbeat behind Agaton’s.  Agaton frowned; he hated being social.  He hated even more the act of stoic tolerance that was expected in social activities; especially when he had not instigated the association.

He hated everything, really.  It was more a matter of degrees; fractional differences in tolerance and mood.  Negligible, at best.

“You’re a fool to leave so early,” Demetrius was saying behind him, his tone slimy with judgment and accusation.  Agaton rolled his eyes.

He had fought for his standing among the Daemons.  He’d killed and betrayed and reveled in the violent, tangent joy of victory.  Demetrius was just beginning and his arrogance hung around him, vaguely similar to the stench of death in Agaton’s nostrils.

“Someone will usurp your position, Agaton, and you should not be surprised when you come back to find me sitting in your throne.”

Son of a bitch, thought Agaton, and the exhaustion that had begun to spread through him surfaced.  He pushed it down and spun on his heel without warning.  His fingers were clamped around Demetrius’ throat, crushing through his windpipe, grinding his nails against Demetrius’ spine.

“You would not last five minutes,” he growled, the hell-fury that filled him roaring to life.  “Even if I were never to return, you would not hold that seat but to warm it up for the next daemon hungering for my reputation.”

He shoved his arm outward, taking with it Demetrius’ twitching throat, and slammed the back of his opponent’s skull into the thundercloud grey walls of the hallway.  The concrete crumbled; pieces of it embedded into Agaton’s knuckles.

“Do you want to know what separates you and I, Demetrius?  What it is that I possess, which you do not also possess, that has allowed me to maintain authority over my throne for roughly seven thousand years?”

He did not wait for a response.  It was unlikely he would get one; he could feel the faint vibrations of a shattered voice-box rumbling against his palm.

“You are not a natural heathen, as I am, and you’re too far from sober.  You’re drunk on your own ego and it taints your abilities, your motives.  I, Demetrius, am ugly all the way through; I lack the simple vices of simple men – I am focused and certain and unstoppable.  I do not need to be provoked, nor do I need to provoke.  I am toxic and cruel and malignant.  I am a cancer that rots from within.

You, Demetrius, are the filth beneath my fingernails.  Traces of evil that others have participated in, nothing more.”

He had not lessened his grip and Demetrius’ eyes were beginning to loll beneath his twitching eyelids.

“We are alone, Demetrius; our kind.  We are alone whether we are in groups, whether we are raping or pillaging or claiming what is not ours.  We are alone in our beds, we are alone in our minds, and we are alone in our decisions.

You are incapable of being alone, Demetrius, and so your soul will forever burn with the inadequacy of the lesser daemon that you truly are.  You are part of the flock,” he said, finally, watching with empty black eyes as Demetrius’ pallor began to whiten unnaturally.  “Your purpose is to play, and then to die; because there is a greater need for bodies and spilled blood than there is for men like myself.”

He released his steel grip, then, and Demetrius collapsed to the slick wood floor with a heavy thud.  There was no motion from the corpse; no gasping for air, no final, fluttering heartbeat.

“That is what separates us, Demetrius.  You are the flock, and I am the hand of God come upon you.  You can not be what I am, just as I cannot be what you are.”

Agaton made his way down the hall until he reached his quarters.  The gateway shimmered against the far wall.


The End

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