Hope can be a demonic evil
It torments and teases the emotions of man.
“Hey. Hey! New guys! You awake?” A deep voice worms its way into my conscious. I wince as I sit up. Pain seeps through my body. Glancing around I see there are cracked bricks and steel bars. “Are you listening to me kid or am I talking to myself?” The voice is coming from a man in the cell opposite to mine. He has a metal guard covering his mouth, slightly muffling his voice, and is wearing a jacket which has had the sleeves cut off, showing the many tattoos on his left arm. A bandana keeps black hair from falling onto his eyes. “You alive over there?” he presses.
“I think so…” I mumble.
“You think so? Great. Coz you don’t look like it kid. You got blood everywhere… and they put the spikey ones on you.”
“Spikey ones..?” the guy points at my wrists.
“The chains that have the spikes that go in the middle. Good for inflicting pain. Unfortunate for you kid.” I look down and see what he means. I couldn’t actually feel anything but just seeing them freaked me out. The man laughs. “Don’t feel them ey? Haha, you never do until they come off…” I stare at him blankly. “I’m Maize. What’s your name kid?”
“Damien.” I reply dryly. Maize nods and walks to the bars of his cell. “And who’s your foxy friend there?” Xzenox is only just waking up. He too has the deathly chains digging into his flesh. “Why am I hearing voices?” he whispers, now fully awake and upright. Did he really just swap personalities? What happened to the serious Xzenox?! He frowns turning to Maize. “Who are you and why are you here?” he growls. Maize laughs. “Maize and because I’m a demon.”
“Maize? That’s a funny name. Did you know that means corn?” Xzenox snickers at the knowingness in Maize’s eyes.
“That’s why I call him corn sprout.” A girl aged around her late twenties walks forward from the shadows of the cell next to Maize. Maize glares sternly at the girl. “Call me that again, I dare you.” She laughs. “Like you can do anything there’s a wall in the way. Anyway, so who are these two? Are they the ones who killed all those men in the village?” Xzenox’s eyes shift from corner to corner and I laugh nervously. “Seems like they are.” Maize says surprised. “Who would think that young people like you would kill that many.” He laughs. “Youth these days. Always full of surprises.” Smoothing his hair he continues, pointing at me “And I know that kid’s name is Damien and that one is…?” Xzenox tilts his head and grins.
“The names Xzenox.” He says proudly. “And who’s your lady friend?”
Maize’s eyes widen. “M-my lady friend? She’s not my lady fri-“
“Talow.” She replies coolly. She has long dark brown hair which curls a little at the ends. She has buckles going up her legs, as if they were usually full of weapons. Her eyes are a piercing green, matching her small cat-like ears and tail. I begin to wander why these guys haven’t managed to get out of this place. I can sense the barrier has gone down now that we are locked up in this damp excuse for a prison cell. Surely these two had powers they could use to get out right? “How come you guys haven’t escaped yet? Don’t you have any powers?” Talow and Maize both look disappointed. “Talow works with explosives and flammable objects, I manipulate blood and bones. But thing is, the guards that come through here don’t react to anything we do.” Maize explains.
“It’s like they have their own protective shield.” Talow adds. I stare at the two of them and start to laugh. “Hey what’s so funny kid? You think you can do something? Yeah right.” Maize crosses his arms.
“You see those crates over there?” I ask him, smiling.
“Yeah what about em?” The crate suddenly moves to the middle of the room, right in front of Maize’s cell. “What the hell? You have some kind of telekinetic hoodoo magic?”
“I’m a shadow master; I can get us out easy.” I laugh. Talow comes right to the edge of her cell. “If I could I’d be hugging you right now!” she pauses. “What about our weapons though? We’ll need them once we’re out.” I sigh. I didn’t want to have to do this again. I’ve done it once before and it wasn’t the smallest bit enjoyable. If you take the shadow of a person, it allows you to control their body. But in order to control their body you must look inside their mind and all of their memories. Some were hard to bare. “I don’t want to but… When the guard that carries the keys comes past, I’ll take his shadow.” Xzenox looks at me wide eyed, hiding behind his hands but peeking through his fingers. “That sounds creepy.” He whispers. I laugh, smiling from ear to ear. “I could take yours too if I wanted too.” He backs away up against the wall. “I’m joking, I wouldn’t, I swear.” He immediately crawls back to his original place, not a worry in the world. So trustful. Maize interrupts my fun “The next guard should come around soon and not just to look in on us. He’ll be coming for you two, so make sure you get it right. After you take over you will need to take out the guards and church personnel in the room two corridors down from here. Then, make your way back through here and get us out. We’ll wait here until you are able to get our weapons. We know the guards all get breaks at around noon. By that time you need to have taken the weapons and placed them somewhere outside.” I take in all the information. I can do this.
“The guards change around after noon. You will need to find the second guard and swap into his body. From there on it will just be a matter of getting out without the rest of the village knowing.” Talow adds in. Ok…that just made it a lot harder. I guess I’ll have to ask around. Talow looks at me with worried eyes. “Can you really pull it off kid? Because if you can, well… we will owe everything to you. We’ve been in here for so long, so, you know. You would give us another chance at living again.” She smiles slightly. Maize begins to clap slowly.
“Wow. Real nice. We are all so terribly moved by your words. Lovely.”
“Shut up corn sprout! At least I’m grateful we have this chance.”
“Arg! Would you stop calling me that?” These guys must argue a lot… they seem like they’ve been at it for years. A door creaks open and we all go silent. Heavy footsteps thud down the corridor and I can hear the rattle of keys. Talow signs thumbs up. I ready myself. I can’t mess this up. This will be my only chance. The man struts up to the front of our cell, laughing brutally. “Ready for a nice massage? Acupuncture is the specialty at the moment.” He smirks, placing the key in the cell door. I let him take one step forward before I strike at his shadow. I feel my own body fall to a feint while my new body stumbles and tries to steady himself. I feel the memories of this man flow through me, they seem happy and full of life, so much unlike that of a demon. I move my armoured hands, watching the fingers react to my command. I grin “Hell yeah!” Maize, Talow and Xzenox all cheer gleefully. Maize pumps a fist in the air “Now go kill them God slaves like a good soldier!” he solutes me. I take the keys from my new body’s belt and hand them to Xzenox. “Hold onto these for me.” I surprise myself at the ridiculous sound of my voice. Couldn’t the guard that came through here have had a nicer voice? Ah well, I can sound like a try hard tough guy. As I walk down to the other end of the corridor Maize calls out to me “Remember; Take out the guards, free us, find the weapons then find and swap with the second guard. Good luck kid. We’re depending on you.” No pressure, right? I follow their directions, walking down two long rooms. Most of the cells are empty. Others contain remains of those who either couldn’t take it any longer or those who had rotted away while still in hope. Once in the second corridor I could hear weeping. It sounded like a small child. I looked at each cell, trying to find the noise’s owner. Near the very end I find a young child no older than seven. She looks up at me with fear in her black, empty eyes. She was a water spirit. I could tell from her fanned ears and long newt’s tail. She began to cry again when I walked closer. “You’ve come to take me away again haven’t you?” she cries. For a moment I’m confused but I quickly realise that I am not in my own body anymore. I shake my head “I’m not really the guard, I’m a demon from a couple cell blocks down, I possessed this guards body. I can get you out of here I promise. Just sit tight. I have to get rid of the guards in the other room first and free my friends. After that they will come and let you out too ok?” I smile and the girl stops crying.
“Really…You-you promise?” she sniffs. I nod. “Thank you… th-thank you.”
“I have to hurry now ok? I don’t have a lot of time to do this.” The girl clings to the bars as I leave. “You have to come back! Please remember!” she cries out. I’ll remember. There’s no way I’ll leave a kid in a place like this. She continues to plead and cry even after I leave the room. Ahead of me there are steel doors with two guards standing either side of them. I walk calmly towards them. One of the guards raises a hand and waves “Hey Tristen! Problem with the newbies? How come they’re not with you?” he asks. I pause, thinking. What should I say??
“One of them got out!” I reply, seemingly stressed. The guards look at each other with worried glances. “Alright! We’ll find them, go inside and tell Father what has happened!” The two men run towards the cell block. When their backs are turned I draw my host’s sword, slashing quickly through their chests. Thud. The bodies drop and lay motionless on the concrete floor. I laugh and think to myself; This is all too easy! I open the steel doors, curious eyes planting themselves upon me. An old man dressed in white robes asks “Where are they brother? Why are they not with you?” I stand tall and keep a calm resolve.
“One of the demons has escaped Father.” In a way I wasn’t lying. I had escaped, well not exactly, but pretty close to it. The old man did not show any sign of concern. He looked me up and down. His eyes came to a rest on the sheath of the bloodied sword. “Tell me brother, why does your sword’s sheath drip so?” I glance down to the puddle of blood which falls from a crack in the wooden holder. There were three people in this room. One unarmed, two with weapons. I smile and reply “A demon is on the loose Father.” He narrows his eyes and motions to the men at the back of the room. He whispers something to them, sending their cold stares to my soul. One tries to edge off to the side, a rope hangs from the ceiling. There is no way I’m just going to let you ring that bell again. A knife sitting on a table full of blades finds itself in the man’s head. He chokes a little, coughing up blood before stumbling and drowning amongst his own blood. The other man raises his blade, charging at me. All these soldiers must have been trained by the same guy, you don’t just run at your opponent. Almost two steps from me I notice a change in his posture. He begins to swing the sword sideways. He has no intention of killing me. The blade in his hands is most likely blessed; he wishes to dispel the demon, not his friend. I dodge to the side, the blade skimming my skin. A burning flash of pain snakes up my arm. In a rage I hold the man’s shadow, forcing him to bring his own sword upon himself. It was taking a lot of energy to hold this body as well as another’s. But it didn’t faze me. There was a drip of blood and a clink of metal as my fourth victim of today took his last breath. The old man in robes stared at me, relaxed. He showed no expression of remorse. More a look of pity. “You kill many, your kind does. They take lives with no thought.” I return his gaze.
“We kill in order to save our own. If you had not hurt us, if you had not tortured us, we would leave all of you be.” The old man laughs.
“You plan to kill me next yes? You could easily lock me in here, you could have done that to begin with but you chose to kill us.”
“I know you would have rung the bell and alarmed everyone to our escape. We would have been returned to where we started. All we really want, is to leave. We are hardly the ones to blame. We do not torture your kind. We do not shackle them with chains that have serrated barbs that point inwards. We do not kill without reason. If you ask me, humans are the real impurities in this world.” I spit. He lowers his head and brings his hands together. “You may be right. But in the end we humans who follow in His stead will all go to a happy afterlife. You on the other hand, will burn in a never ending inferno of your own sin.” He smiles and raises his arms as if telling me he is ready to die. His invitation was not left unnoticed for long. I turned my back walking through the steel doors once again; Three men behind me, two in front. Our kind was not cold hearted. We simply did what we had to, to keep ourselves and the ones we love alive. It hardly differed to what humans did. When they were sad, they cried. When they were afraid, they fought or tried to find somewhere safe to stay. They wanted to be held and told everything was okay. Just. Like. Us.
The first step to freedom had been taken. Only a few more to go. I will do anything to free Zasha from the hideous hands of Lord Talson. No matter what it takes. Nobody should be left to suffer. This time, I will fight for what is right. There will be no more darting behind darkened trees and hiding behind closed doors. This time, I will not fail.