A couple of days later, at school Cornelia joined June and me to lunch. She was beaming, her blue eyes in stark contrast to her flaming red hair. I introduced her to June, who seemed confused by her barging up to us. After all, she was only second year.
“Well, I talked to my… dad, about the thing we discussed, and he said that he didn’t know that the… fried chickenwings disappeared so quickly from the supermarket, he didn’t even know they had it in stock.” She said, wrinkling her nose. I smiled when I saw June’s confused expression. I interpreted the message to mean: “I have talked with the emperor, he didn’t know the dryads were being abducted, neither did he know they had left the Valley.” Heads up to Cornelia for the quick thinking, though I didn’t enjoy her calling dryads for chicken wings though.
“I see, I suppose the fish sticks aren’t sold out that quickly then?” I asked, earning a slight glare in return from Cornelia.
“Nope, no one buys fish sticks.” She confirmed. I chuckled, not having the power to stop myself.
“That’s because no one likes fish sticks.” I grinned, “Chicken wings on the other hand…” Cornelia rolled her eyes and looked away, clearly not going down that path. I chuckled.
“So, yeah, food…” June commented, looking at both of us, like we were crazy. I smiled and patted her arm.
“Foreigners: can’t help it.” I explained, she eyed me, but let it go.
“So, tell me, how did you guys get to know each other?” June asked interested, leaning forwards on her elbows, forgetting her food all together. I glanced at Cornelia, giving her the responsibility of making up a story.
“Oh, at Vulcans’ party a couple of nights ago. It just said boom, didn’t it?” She asked and grinned at me. I grimaced, remembering the frying pan in my face.
“Sure, Cornelias’ personality just hit me in the face, much like a frying pan.” I said and smiled back at her. Again, June looked as lost as a little child in a supermarket. Cornelia giggled.
“Mind if I join you today?” A dark voice asked from behind me. I saw Junes’ eyes widen in shock and surprise, letting a soft, strangled sound escape her lips. My senses tingled as I noticed his remarkable aura, only a few inches from my back. Slowly, I turned around to face him. His green eyes were warm this morning, he seemed… relaxed, which in his case was a rare state of mind. I smiled, feeling my cheeks turn red.
“Sure.” I breathed. He nodded and sat down at the only free chair at the four-man-table, beside June who was still staring at him as if he’d grown horns.
“I’m Caspian.” He said and smiled his vague smile at her. Finally she seemed to snap out of her paralyzed state.
“I’m June, nice to meet you.” She answered, barely above a whisper. He nodded again and turned towards Cornelia and me.
“I see you recovered just fine from the blow to the head.” He said to me and tilted his head to the side, dragging his long fingers through his brown hair. I bit my tongue, glancing at June.
“Ah, yeah, just a bump on the head.” I muttered. Caspian glanced sideways at June, and seemed to get the idea, because he didn’t comment any further. June piped up now though, and grinned, as she usually did when she had good news.
“My brothers’ band got a gig!” It burst out of her like an explosion and my eyes widened. The band had only just a few days ago named themselves; Apocalyptic Sheep. June and I had helped them with some brainstorming, and that was what they had come up with in the end, in between playing Nintendo Wii.
“Really? When, where?” I asked excited.
“Tomorrow, at that bar named Dionysus’ bar just down the street from us. All the local rock bands have played there, and some of them have even succeeded.” She said. I grinned. I was finally going to see Darin and his friends play. A warm feeling spread in my stomach as I thought of the human man, with his golden eyes, handsome face and black hair that constantly got in his eyes. Caspian gave me an odd look, and I realized I sat smiling dumbly into space.
“So we’re going right?” Cornelia asked giddily, looking from June to me.
“Yeah, of course we’re going!” June exclaimed and grinned manically, clearly forgetting that she did not know Cornelia in any way. I smiled and turned to Caspian.
“Are you coming with us as well?” I asked.
“Do you want me to come?” He asked slowly, with a deep voice that made my hairs stand on high end. His intense eyes trapped me in a whirlwind of emotions that I found almost impossible to get out of. What do you answer to a question like that anyway? A normal guy usually wants a “yes of course I want you to come”, while you really want to play hard to get (not that I’m trying to be hard to get, just saying), but at the same time you really do want him to come. It’s a real dilemma in the human world, in the demon world however, it’s quite simple.
“Yes.” I said simply. He nodded.
“Then I’ll come.” Just as easy as that, no fuzz, no psychological theories and analysis just to deliver an answer to a simple question. It’s quite easy being a demon or a supernatural being as long as you know a few simple things about demon nature. What unnerved me were his eyes though, the way they rested on me, as if he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at, and he wanted to figure it out. I knew that look, but not in the same context. The last time I had seen that look was back in the Valley, when I had told my dear sister, my best friend that I was leaving. Her blue eyes had been glued to me for a long time, as if she couldn’t quite understand what I had turned into, who I was, even though we were born only one year apart and had spent several hundred years together afterwards. I could remember how painful it had been, how my heart had clenched and squirmed under her heavy gaze. I sighed, looking down at my salad, not feeling very hungry anymore. Old memories always seem to have that effect on me. Strange, that after I came to the human world, I have felt more wanted than I ever did during my hundreds of years in the Valley.
“I have to go to the bathroom before class. I’ll meet you there.” I muttered and packed my things into my backpack and left the table.
The time until the gig would just not go fast enough. June invited me with her back to the Sanders home after school on the actual day after doing some light shopping. June loved shopping apparently, and so did Cornelia, the annoying naiad who had decided to prance along with us. Cornelia also managed to talk her way back to the home of the Sanders siblings, which frankly annoyed the life out of me, as unnecessary chit chat was… well… unnecessary.
When we barged into the living room, the three guys sat with a few sheets of paper they had scribbled down several songs on. Darin and Chester sat with each of their instruments. André who played the drums had to make due with a couple of drum sticks, drumming away on the table surface. The three of us greeted them cheerfully, and I met Darins’ golden eyes for a split second. I hadn’t talked to him ever since the party at Vulcans’ place, and I wasn’t sure what he had learnt that night. He seemed normal now though, not like he had learnt about demons and naiads or dryads.
“Hello, who is this?” Chester asked, his dark blue eyes were glued to Cornelias’ pretty, porcelain face. June stared at Chester as if he had just pulled out a gun and shot her through the heart.
“Ah, this is Cornelia, she’s retarded.” I said and smiled sweetly. I could see Chesters’ interest in the new girl fade away. Cornelia glared at me, giving me a sick kind of pleasure. It’s always fun to tease the ones who get angry when you mess with them.
“No I’m not.” She snapped.
“And she’s in constant denial of the situation of her health.” I added discreetly, giving them all a look that showed how much I pitied her. Cornelia growled angrily at me and hit my shoulder.
“And she seems to have tendencies of occasional violence, right Darin?” I asked Junes’ big brother who was sitting with his mouth wide open.
“Ah… are we talking about the frying pan?” He asked confused. Chesters’ eyes went wide with astonishment.
“Stop it, that’s really not funny, and I already apologized for it.” Cornelia hissed.
“Okay, let’s just end it there. We’re trying to rehearse, so why don’t you girls go make yourself pretty for the gig?” André broke in suddenly with his wonderful French accent and white smile. I grinned at Cornelia who was still fuming about my teasing, and noticed June smiling at Chester for some reason. I sighed; the girl just didn’t see what was right there in front of her eyes. It made me a little sad, because it seemed as if André could be interested in her.
We got dressed and ready in our new outfits, none of us really used make-up, or did much with our hair, so getting dressed was really all we did. And of course we danced to The Beatles and some old school Sex Pistols, singing along with how;” God should save the queen.”
Cornelia had bought herself a quite nasty, skintight, black leather dress, which didn’t look too vulgar on her tiny frame actually. She did obviously not have the same opinion as me on clothes and the ability to move in them. I had dressed in a white, silk dress which June had insisted I’d tie in on my waist with a slim, studded belt and topped it off with a black leather jacket. June detached herself from us nymphs, and dressed in a pair of skintight, black jeans and a red, pretty top that showed off all of her fiery self. I had to admit we were one group of lethal femme fatales.
When we came downstairs, the guys were already ready to leave. They had to be at Dionysus’ Bar an hour before the gig, because they needed to rig their gear. I was afraid I had to ride the car again, but just then, the doorbell rang. Darin opened and let Caspian, whom we had asked to meet us here, inside, with a slight scowl. I smiled at the green-eyed diabolo as he walked over to me.
“I guess we’re too many to ride the Mustang, aren’t we?” I asked Darin. He furrowed his forehead and counted heads. We were seven, two persons too many.
“Yeah, seems like it.” Darin muttered, eying Caspian.
“I’ll walk.” I said.
“I’ll walk with you.” Caspian offered. Cornelia, who also was a nymph, looked like she was about to offer herself to walk as well, but stopped and drew back. Perhaps she was afraid it would make her look suspicious. No matter what it was, she ended up riding the Mustang together with Chester, Darin, André and June, while Caspian and I headed out the door, walking down the street towards Dionysus’ Bar.
“So… how are you?” I asked Caspian after several minutes in total silence. He didn’t look at me.
“I’m well, you?” He replied disinterested in what I would reply to his question. I sighed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. He shot me a sideways glance.
“Do you have to ask?” He asked coldly.
“Yes, I can’t read your demonic mind.” I muttered.
“I try to protect you, and all you seem to do is search for trouble.” He snapped.
“Yeah? Well until I get a real answer why you’re protecting me at all I’m not going to stop doing that.”
“Really? Then I might as well kill you now because I’m not going to tell you.”
“Yeah, why don’t you just do that? Would be much easier for you, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah it would!” He growled angrily and stopped, staring down at me.
“Do it then!” I snarled back. “Come on, end your misery!”
We stood glaring at each other for a long time, before I faltered and looked away. I needed Caspian if I were to live in the human world… and survive.
“I’m sorry.” I murmured and stared at my feet. I heard him shift by the soft sound of the fabric in his black shirt slide against his skin.
“I couldn’t let anything happen to you Elizabeth, especially not by my own hand.” He said softly and placed a warm hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him. A strange feeling spread from the pit of my stomach, it heated up every nerve in my body until it felt like I was on fire.
“I could never…” He paused and let go of my gaze, looking up, furrowing his forehead in worry.
“We should keep going.” He murmured and took my hand, forgetting about what he been about to say only a moment earlier.
A few blocks down, Caspian finally slowed down, but he still didn’t let go of my hand. I had wrapped my own fingers around his hand. His hand was larger than mine, rougher with a few white scars. He was holding my hand firmly, but not so tightly that it hurt, just a comforting pressure that told me he wouldn’t let go if something happened.
“Do you know what the thing Cornelia talked about at that party was?” I asked him when the silence became too heavy. I hated the silence, but got really irritated with people who talked constantly.
“No, she didn’t want to tell me, she said it must have been her imagination.” He said, not looking back at me trailing behind him, having a difficult time keeping up with his long steps.
“So I got hit in the face with a frying pan, because she was imagining things?” I asked the air in front of me, slightly irritated at this revelation. When you get hit in the face, you want it to be worth something, because it hurts like shit.
“I think she saw a demon of some sort, there was definitely something at that party, but it was not in the pool. The scream from the pool was only from a girl who had been pushed in.” He commented.
“You can… sense other demons?” I asked him. Now he glanced back at me, smiling secretively.
“Sometimes, usually if they are strong.” He murmured and looked up again, getting that same furrow between his eyebrows, showing his obvious worry.
“Something’s chasing us, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Not at the moment, but they are very close.” He said. I nodded and we walked the rest of the way in silence, knowing that this was probably another evening filled with problems, I had no idea what kind of problems though. What I did know, was that I would very soon find out.
Caspian, June, Cornelia and I sat around one of the tables at the bar. The band was supposed to play five songs, and the bar was filled with dark clad people, cigarette smoke and beer stank. I liked the atmosphere, which was welcoming. No one looked strangely at us, even though it seemed to be mostly regulars gathering in front of the stage.
When Apocalyptic Sheep played the tunes of their first song; “Indescribable”, I knew they would do great. The tunes were heavy, but with a hint of irony, which seemed to go well with the crowd. Chesters’ vocal was rough, but clear, and he hit every note beautifully. Backed up by Darins’ screaming vocals and Andrès masterly skills on the drums they brought the tones together, and we all got carried away on a wave of good music.
After the opening song, all of the guests were listening, looking up at the stage, some holding up mobile phones to record their songs, some taking photos. I grinned at June who looked like a proud mother after her son had won his first football match. Even Caspian seemed to be enjoying himself. I had never taken him for a music liking kind of demon, but oh well, you learn as you go.
Meanwhile, not too far away, a meeting between two hooded figures took place. They were both shrouded in shadows in a dark alleyway no one walking past seemed to notice. At first glance you might only have seen the two figures, but at a closer look, several creatures were hiding amongst the garbage cans and broken furniture, some of them even blending completely into the brick walls.
“I want results, why have you not disposed of the dryad yet? You are aware of the danger she poses to our project.” The taller of the two said darkly, sending rippling through the air like a stone being thrown into the still water. The other one flinched.
“Yes uncle, but there seems like someone is protecting her. Another demon, he killed five avions on his own.” He said desperate to save his face. The Uncle leant forwards, towards his nephew.
“Are you saying we have a traitor amongst us?” He asked viciously. The Nephew cowered under the gaze he could not see.
“You knew of a traitor and you haven’t disposed of him?” The Uncle asked again. The Nephew seemed to realize that he was in deep trouble now, and started backing up, away from the threatening dark figure in front of him.
“He’s strong, very strong, I’m not sure my minions could take him on alone.” The Nephew said, his voice almost shivering.
“Then fight him yourself, you fool. You’ve been a coward ever since your mother spewed you out, this way, at least you could die with some dignity!” The Uncle bellowed, the air around him flickering restlessly, as if he was incredibly warm, like the air above the ground in the dry desert.
“But alright, you can have Enyo, she’s moaning about not being able to bring destruction to the humans. I’m sick of her.” The Uncle said thoughtfully, and pointed a finger at The Nephew, accusingly.
“I will have your head on a stick if you can’t sort this out.” He said coldly, before turning away and disappearing, the demons hiding on the walls and in the garbage faded away as well. The Nephew shuddered, gripping his hood desperately, with fingers that appeared pale in the moonlight, releasing a ragged breath from his stiff lips. Nothing could save him if he failed; there was nowhere he could hide. No one escaped the eyes of his uncle, of the king of the demons, of Lucifer.