Jaska asks me what I want and slightly hindered by the fact that I have no mouth to talk with, I do my best to transmit my needs to him – to become a demon again. Preferably to be the demon I was a few years ago. Jaska laughs.
‘That’s ridiculous.’ He drops his human glamour for a moment and reforms, Alice’s face swimming into focus. I scream, noiselessly. He feels the pain that rips through me, despite my silence. He laughs, her voice and his mingling eerily in the claustrophobically wide space around us. He returns to his normal form and tells me to go away.
‘Do you really think I would save you? Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t.’ He turns away and I’m pushed out of his domain. Instantly pissed off, I push my way back in, the power of the underworld aiding me – I guess a little bit of the old me is left over.
‘What do you think you can do, Jet?’ Jaska asks as I re-enter his area. I don’t reply, simply sending him all my anger and the desire to return to my previous state. He laughs again, but he knows I’m being serious. ‘I would get into more trouble than you already are, Jet.’ He says flatly. He faces me, his expression amused. ‘I’m tempted, but what will I get out of it? Grief and execution.’ I promise him souls, particularly Alice’s. Once I’m done with her of course. He contemplates this. I can sense him giving in. I offer a greater number of souls and he smiles.
‘That’s more like it.’ He grabs at my soul and I’m gripped by a perfectly human wave of terror as his icy fingers clasp at something that shouldn’t be touched. Well I guess I know how the souls I’ve taken over the year have felt before they become mine.
‘I admit this is more a selfish thing than for you,’ Jaska says as he pumps energy into me, giving me a new body of black liquid like essence, ‘I’m bored of Lucifer. It’s been a long time since anyone bothered to defy him. You get me all those souls, and we can probably get rid of that detestable man for good.’ I give my new body a shape the moment he is done and I become my usual vaguely human form, shimmering in the invisible light around us.
I nod and sigh, nearly beginning to regret offering him so many souls. A thousand or so would be easy. But five thousand? The world’s only just cleaned itself up after our last attack. They’ll know what to expect and some of those human rituals do actually work. Damn humans.
‘Don’t let me down Jet, or Lucifer won’t be the only one on your trail.’
‘F*ck off Jaska.’ I snap and glare as he chuckles softly.
‘Glad to have you back!’ He rolls his eyes and disappears, leaving me in the space alone. I turn and look for some souls to collect before returning to the bus, I need some strength. I go back to the area I was abandoned in when I died and coax the souls toward me with kind words, promising a happy after life and all that crap that tormented souls like to hear. They flocked around me and I gathered them close like a prophet gathering followers, promising that things will be better than they could possibly be. I look around at the little cloud of souls and bite back my laughter as I pull them closer.
I begin to absorb the souls, reaching out and touching them, feeling the shockwave of sheer terror ripple through them. It feeds me and I breathe relief as I feel the energy flooding me. I feel strong enough to leave the underworld, a race against time as Lucifer looks for me. I shoot upwards, leaving the last few desolate souls behind, returning to the bus. As I break through the barrier, I force my glamour to reform around me. It’s easy with so many new souls, and it should be a while before it cracks again. I melt through the side of the bus, right into my old seat. Alice jerks as I return, my presence taking her by surprise.
‘Boo.’ I laugh.