“Okay, so here’s the plan.” Darin said after a long discussion about how we could possibly make June see André as a potential date, instead of Chester. We had come up with so many ideas that seemed absolutely absurd, and would never work. Next we had picked bits and pieces from all the plans, and come up with the master plan. It wasn’t fool proof of course, but it was a start. Now Darin walked through it step by step, making sure we had covered every weak point. Afterwards we ate tasty pasta with pesto sauce, which wasn’t half bad for human food. We followed up the pasta by sharing a chocolate fondant, because when I had told Darin I had never tasted chocolate, he had almost choked on a sip of coke. I was very skeptical to chocolate, because it smelled too nice. And we were imprinted with the knowledge that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. That rule doesn’t only apply to food though, of course.
Darin was staring at me with his golden eyes now, watching me intently as I chewed and tasted the first bite of the fondant. It melted on my tongue, and the flavor (which was completely heavenly) was even better than I could have ever imagined.
“This is good.” I commented after I decided I had kept Darin waiting long enough. His face lit up exactly like June’s face usually did when she was pleased about herself.
“Told you so.” He said pleased and together we devoured the hot cake. Afterwards we paid our own share, after heavy insistence on my part. We left the restaurant, and came out in the cold again. Street lights lit up the cobble stoned street like in a movie, and light flakes of snow were falling lazily to the ground. It was a lovely night, and so far I was certain this would be my best human evening yet, perhaps my best evening ever. Darin was great company, and even though I was a completely different species from him, it was this connection between us, that made talking with him seem… uncomplicated and easy. It even seemed uncomplicated, in a calm and controlled way, when he reached out his hand, and I entwined my fingers with his. His hand was larger, and warmer than mine, and on his fingertips I could feel the thick skin from his guitar playing. He smiled down at me, despite my height, and for a moment I was wondering if he was considering kissing me. I couldn’t have that, not yet anyway. He seemed to think better of it as well, and we walked down the street in comfortable silence.
Suddenly a loud scream filled the silent evening and Darin let go of my hand as I spun around, looking up at the sky. Nothing human had made that noise. Nothing friendly had made that noise either. I glanced at Darin who was searching the sky as well. Another scream filled the night, and I knew for certain that in a short moment we would both be in a vulnerable position. I nudged Darin, urging him to start running.
“What’s going on?” He asked as his feet started carrying him forwards.
“I’m not sure, but it’s not good.” I answered, taking his hand and dragging him after me as he was falling behind. My eyes searched the street for any place we could hide. It was an empty alley way, and tall brick houses at both sides, perfect for a ambush.
The scream was closer this time, and I glanced up, seeing a shadow circling above our heads. Oh damn, I thought and ran faster, dragging a heavily breathing Darin after me.
“Come on, come on. Don’t stop Darin!” I shouted. He nodded feeling the same terror as me. There had to be somewhere we could hide, even though I knew hiding would do us no good if it was the creature I thought it was. My heart was pumping in my chest and my blood thundering in my ears.
Suddenly a person, whom I recognized immediately, stepped into the street, looking quite devilish. I gasped.
“Caspian!” He nodded.
“Keep on running Elizabeth. Don’t look back.” He ordered as I came up to him. I nodded, and didn’t slow down. Darin and I kept on running down the street, until another scream sounded, deeper this time, and more human. A loud thump and next silence, I was afraid Caspian might be hurt. I slowed down, getting strange looks from Darin.
“I think it’s gone.” I said, and we slowed to a walk, before we stopped completely and turned. The dark hid whatever lay in the dark alley, but if Caspian (my protector) laid there bleeding, I couldn’t just leave him.
“Caspian?!” I called, no one answered.
“Perhaps he left. How do you know that guy anyway?” Darin asked. I shrugged.
“He’s in the same class as June and I.” I answered, still listening intently after any movement.
“How come he was there at the exact right time?” Darin stared at me. “And what was that sound?” Again, I found him a little too attentive and smart to my taste. I would have to influence him, he couldn’t know about the creatures haunting me.
“Was that an eagle or something, like the ones that have been troubling the city for months now?” He asked. I was surprised.
“Yeah, giant eagles have been attacking random citizens.” He replied. I was shocked. I had heard nothing of this until now, perhaps because I never read papers or watched the news, but no one had talked about it either. It was strange. Giant eagles would normally have been the hot topic. This was a good thing though, because I wouldn’t have to influence Darin after all. It was hard removing a memory that made such a huge impact on one’s life, and replacing it with something completely ordinary. I wasn’t that strong yet.
“Could you wait here, while I go and check up on Caspian?” I asked Darin. I could see he didn’t like not being the only male, but he complied after a few seconds.
I ran down the alley, back to where Darin and I had passed Caspian. There was nothing there, no sign what-so-ever of a struggle. I looked up, seeing the roofs looking like giants in the night. Up there, I could see a silhouette. It was definitely not human, but I knew it was Caspian.
“Thank you.” I called. He didn’t answer, he might not be able to, I thought. I was a little sad that he would not show himself to me, not that he owed me; it was rather me who owed him, considering he had possibly saved my life twice already. I sighed and walked back to Darin, who was gazing up at the sky, thoughtfully.
“If those giant eagles exist, I wonder what else might be out there.” He said. A cold, bony hand clamped around my heart as I looked at him. It would be harder than I first though, keeping my secret from this particular human. His handsome face turned to me, and his mouth smiled, as if nothing had happened.
“I’m just rambling. Come on, I’ll walk you home.” He said and we headed towards the street where my cold apartment laid. I shuddered, wondering if something would be waiting for me there this time.
Darin and I parted before I unlocked my apartment. He gave me an encouraging hug, before he waved and was off. I hoped he would get home safely, but considering I was the target, I believed he would. I hesitated before sticking the key into the keyhole. I stepped closer to the door, and rested my ear against the wood, listening for any noise. Nothing. I gathered up whatever courage I had left for the evening, and unlocked the door, pulling it open quickly, like ripping off a band aid.
Once I had turned on the lights and searched both rooms, I was certain that I was safe. My heart rate slowed down, and I allowed myself to take off my shoes and jacket, making me unprepared for any escape.
I started thinking about what these giant eagles could be. They were definitely some kind of air demons. All I came up with was griffins, but I was sure they would never attack humans, much less show themselves in a place where humans lived. Phoenixes are also large, eagle like birds, but in any case, the phoenixes were holy. They were almost the purest spirit you could find in this world, except for an angel, but those were rarely seen at all. Suddenly there was a knock on the door, sounding quite urgent. It was more of a banging than a knocking, truth be told.
“Who is it?” I called, not going to be making any more mistakes tonight.
“It’s Caspian, let me in, quick.” He called back, and I rushed over to the door by the mentioning of his name. He stumbled in and fell to his knees just over my threshold. I stared with wide eyes at him. He had been transformed into something not human, and he hadn’t quite transformed back yet.
“The door.” He snarled when I stood paralyzed, watching his halfway transformation. I shut the door quickly and knelt by his side.
“Are you hurt?” I asked.
“No, just exhausted. I couldn’t make it home.” He panted. I stared at him. He was completely different than his human form. It was so strange. His skin was a deep purple, almost black, and it looked like glass. His eyes were black, and he had white spikes growing out of his skin from his bones. He had obviously shed his shirt, and now I could see spikes sticking out of his spine, and out of every vertebra down his back. And, having ripped a hole in his trousers was a long tail, constructed out of bone. It looked quite dangerous, whipping from side to side lazily. What was the most amazing thing about him though, were the bat-like wings that were melting together with his torso as he transformed back. I was amazed at the rate he could transform. His hands and feet, which a moment ago had been claws, were now normal, human hands. And his ears, which had been long and pointy, like on an elf, were now almost small and human-like again. I watched the bone spikes retract into his spine, and the tail, as if in reverse, shot back into his coccyx. It was so fascinating, he was so beautiful. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this. It was one of the rarest sights in the mysterious world we all live in. I couldn’t believe, I actually had a diabolo guarding me.
Caspian sighed when the transformation finally was done, and he sat up, looking up at me, who still was staring at him.
“You’re a diabolo.” I said, ecstatic. He frowned.
“Now you know.” He said angrily. I could understand his anger now. Only very few had seen the transformation of a diabolo, hell, only a few had even seen a diabolo. They were extremely rare, even amongst demons. Diabolos were the creation of the fallen angel, Lucifer himself. He had wanted to create a species that would bring order to a chaotic world. It never became as he hoped though, because the diabolos would not take his orders, and therefore there began a diabolo hunt. Most of them were extinguished several thousand years ago, but obviously a few survived. Lucifer still sent out hunters to find the last diabolos, who were the only demon species that did not answer to the demon king; Lucifer. Therefore they were extremely secretive, and no one really knew where they hid.
“I have to go.” He murmured and pushed off the floor, but fell back down again with a thump.
“God damn it all.” He swore angrily and shoved himself up into a sitting position.
“There hasn’t been any thunder lately; I’m running a little low on energy.” He muttered and met my stare. Diabolos fed like humans, of meat, vegetables and other minerals, but they needed to recharge, in some way. And they did this by having lightning shot through their bone tail. Usually they would know where to find lightning before they even got this week, because once they had been charged, they wouldn’t need to recharge for another two months or so.
“Why?” I voiced out the obvious question. There was no reason for him to not being able to recharge. I found it strange.
“Because I’ve been guarding your’ sorry ass.” He snapped. My blue eyes widened even more (if physically possible).
“Oh, right. How about sticking that tail of yours into a socket or something?” I was feeling a little stupid for even asking such a question, and the look he gave me confirmed that feeling.
“How long would it take you, you know; to find lightning and recharge?” I asked.
“About two days or so.” He muttered.
“So you think I can’t manage on my own for two days?” I asked, slightly offended at his lack of confidence in me.
“Of course you can’t, all you can seem to do is run, which in most cases would be a good ability, except these creatures won’t stop looking for you. You’re in constant danger. If it hadn’t been for me, you would have died ten times already.” He snapped. This information felt like a blow in the face.
“Ten times…” I whispered and staggered back. “What is making these creatures attack me? Why me?” Caspian’s face looked pained, as if it was all his fault.
“Why are you protecting me, that’s not in the nature of the diabolo, you’re supposed to be all secretive and stuff, but here you are in my apartment, claiming you can’t leave me to recharge. What is it about me?” I asked frustrated now, and angry for being kept in constant darkness.
“I can’t tell you Elizabeth, you’re not supposed to be in this mess at all. If I tell you, you’ll just get more involved.” He said urgently, his green eyes were begging me to understand. I shook my head and flung my arms out to the sides, looking furiously down at him, still sitting on the floor.
“Even more involved? So I shouldn’t know why I’m being targeted by demons? Why a exiled demon is protecting me? Is this a war I’ve been caught up in, a war between demons?” I shouted. Caspian shook his head.
“It’s complicated; I wouldn’t impose the truth on my worst enemy, and much less on you.” He said.
“And what does that mean? I don’t understand any of this.” I said and slid down by the door, hugging my knees to my chest. I was getting a headache from all the questions twirling around in my head, like a tornado. I closed my eyes, wondering why all this was happening to me. What had I ever done that would bring all this unwanted attention upon me. What had I ever done of importance?
“Nothing.” I muttered out loud, as an answer to my silent question. Caspian looked up.
“I have done nothing of importance my entire life. And, compared to these humans, I have lived a great deal. I haven’t lived, until now.” I whispered, shocked at this revelation.
“I’m worthless; no one would miss me if I was gone, my own species couldn’t wait to get rid of me. These creatures know that, obviously. What exactly is going on in the demon world, Caspian?” I asked my eyes wide.
“You know too much already Elizabeth, if you learn the truth you’d be targeted to be silenced. Lucifer sees all.” Caspian answered, looking uneasy.
“I would rather be a target to be silenced, instead of a target to be experimented on. Because that’s what’s going on, isn’t it? They’re experimenting on nymphs? Why?” I asked. He looked almost relieved now that I knew, and he breathed out.
“That’s what I would like to know as well.” He said.
“You don’t know?”
“Of course I don’t. Do you imagine me, a diabolo, prancing into the demon world after being exiled for several thousand years to check up on the business? My species is almost extinct, and Lucifer wants it that way.” I had to admit that sounded quite daft, and he got a point.
“So… what do we do?” I asked. He seemed confused.
“We’re doing nothing. You won’t be dragged into this.” He said, iron appearing in his voice.
“I’m already into this, I can help you.” I urged.
“No, Elizabeth. No…” He looked away, as if he’d just heard a sound. He tried standing up, but fell back down again. I wondered if he could even fly to recharge in such a bad shape.
“The window, go look out the window. Tell me what you see.” He snapped and I complied. It was no use in defying his orders when he was such a cripple.
The night was pitch black outside, and I couldn’t really see anything. Nothing moved, and it had to be getting late, because most lights were turned off as well, except for the street lights and occasional apartments.
“What do you see?” He asked.
“Close the curtains and come here.” He ordered. I raised an eyebrow at him, but shut the curtains, making sure no light emitted from my only window, before I walked over and knelt by the (now) human looking Caspian Riverton. He took my hands in his own and stared up at me.
“I’m no use like this. I have to leave, but first you need to give me a little bit of your own energy, so I can recover.” He said. I didn’t think straight, didn’t realize what that meant, or how it would be done, so I nodded. He had saved my life, the most I could do was give him a little of my own life energy so he could go and recharge. His one hand let go of mine and cupped my cheek.
“Here goes.” He muttered, and before I could even react, his mouth was covering mine. All my senses were exploding like a fire work on New Year’s Eve. His hand was still cupping my cheek gently, and my mind went blank as I felt energy travel from the core of my chest, up my throat and through my mouth, into him. I was kissing a diabolo, a real life diabolo. This would be equal to kissing an angel for a religious human. I felt weaker as my energy left me, and I fell limp into his other arm he had supported around my waist. His lips left mine, and I could barely stay awake, but I could see he looked a lot better. I smiled as he nodded gratefully.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can. Now you must sleep. Don’t leave this apartment until I’m back. Alright?” He asked. I knew that was a promise I hardly could keep, but I nodded nonetheless. He seemed uncertain to leave me there on the floor, so he lifted me up into his strong arms and carried me to my bed, and tucked the covers around me. I smiled, dazed.
“Sleep, my little nymph.” He murmured, and with that, he was gone. I couldn’t keep myself awake to actually rethink what had just happened, and I drifted off, just as it became apparent to me what I had just done. It was actually quite dreadful, what I had done. It was actually quite catastrophic.