chapter LVIMature

Frankly, she couldn’t believe he’d done it.  As soon as she’d caught a whif of the rank thing in the jar, she’d questioned their idea.  Eating a raw heart was one thing – civlizations had done it for eons, for reasons much less valid than theirs – but there was a difference between cattle hearts and demon hearts, and that knowledge had become forefront in her mind the moment he opened the jar.

Yet, Graeme was unstoppable.  She’d learned of his new strength and healing, and though she didn’t understand it, she’d accepted it.  Gabriel knew the Lord worked in mysterious ways, so she wasn’t of the mind to question it.  The fervor with which he consumed the entire disgusting demon heart, however, was beyond her ability to simply accept.  He certainly couldn’t have done it without some kind of heavenly grace.  The stench alone had caused her to wretch into a bin, and she had a much stronger constitution than he did, given what she was.

At least, she used to have a much stronger constitution.  It seemed inarguable that Graeme had surpassed her in certain ways.  Once again, she was forced to consider that perhaps he was more special than she knew.

With the heart completely ingested, they hoped their power over the demon would be greater.  It was a leap of faith, but Graeme was so sure of it that she couldn’t contest him.  She herself had never heard of such a thing, but she’d also never heard of a human man who could fight a demon who tried to possess his body by himself, nor a human man who could take on a horde of demons in combat and live to tell about it. 

Neither had she ever heard of a human man clever enough to start collecting their organs in jars after he’d slaughtered them by the dozens without any aid or backup at all.

Who was she to question him?

Smoke began to appear in the center of the pentagram, coalescing into a solid form as they watched.  Graeme, without even glancing at her, rose to his feet.  She wasn’t certain if it was the angle or the lighting, but he seemed to tower enormously over the forming demon.  Tentacles appeared first, reaching out in all directions to find a weak spot in the pentagram so it could escape, but there was no weak spot to find.  Unable to fight the summoning, the demon began to solidify.  It’s body was reminiscent of a man, with the proportions skewed.  Its chest was a wide expanse of thick black fur that rose up into a neck like a tree trunk and sprouted eight tentacles where the arms should have been.  A dozen eyes peered at her from a face like a spider, only with gaunt cheekbones and a mouth full of sharp, needle-pointed teeth, which it all-too-happily bared at her.

“Dirty angel,” it purred with a voice like gravel and lit embers.  “What a delicious surprise.”

Gabriel didn’t have time to respond.  Graeme stepped into the pentagram, miraculously still formidable against the eight-foot-something demon they’d summoned.  He said nothing as his knuckles connected.  A small wellspring of satisfaction pooled in her as she watched chips of the demon’s teeth bounce on the carpet.

The demon was right, she couldn’t help thinking.  She had become dirty since she came down to the earth.

The End

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