Drained of all her anger, Sarah stared at him quietly while he watched some young over-polished anchorwoman recite the evening news. He hadn’t looked away from the TV since he told her she didn’t belong and that in itself was confusing. He’d been more than candid since she’d met him and then just like that, he suddenly clammed up.
“So…” she started. “Are we in hell right now?”
At first she thought he was ignoring her, but then he lowered the TV volume slightly and answered. “Not exactly. We’re close, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there is some kind of rule against telling you about this place, but then again you aren’t supposed to be here to begin with. So to be clear, someone else fucked up way before me.”
The way he said it was odd, like he was talking to someone but not necessarily her. She looked around the penthouse all the same, and when she found no one, she replied, “If I get caught and tortured, it’s not your fault. I got it. So where are we?”
“It looks like Vegas to me.”
“It is Vegas…and Seattle, Tulsa and Tokyo all in one.” To his credit, he didn’t look exasperated at all.
She closed her eyes and tried to imagine it. Honestly, she did. But to no avail. “That’s ridiculous. Even considering the fact that this place is just….stupid creepy and abnormal, what I see outside is Vegas. Is it all in my head? Are you seeing Tokyo and I see Vegas? I mean, it’s all equally plausible because it’s implausible, but give me a break here.”
He leaned forward to set the remote down before getting up to walk into the kitchenette. “Yeah, I can imagine it seems pretty stupid to you, but that’s because you’re over-complicating it. You see the world as being very linear. Something you can draw on a map. Here, it’s more non-linear. Just imagine layers. Everything is layered. This layer is Vegas, strip it away and you could be in Tokyo. Technically, your world is just another layer, but you… you are a part of that layer. You shouldn’t be here.”
“Hmm… so it’s not just in my head. That’s good.” She was still trying to process what it all meant and what she should ask next so a fluff response was the best she could do.
“None of this is just in your head, although depending on whom we run into, it could be.” He sighed and closed the fridge. “Empty. Looks like its mini-bar food for us tonight.” He grabbed a bag of chips and tossed Sarah a candy bar which she absolutely did not catch and had to fish out of the couch cushion. “There’s a blonde guy…usually blonde. A Demon. Often sports a pair of designer sunglasses like he’s some pansy assed fashion model or something. If you see him… just run. He’s a sly one.”
This got her attention. “I’ve seen him, I think. He has a really hot smile and a black tailored suit? “
Ash frowned and leaned back against the armrest on the other side of the couch as he opened the bag of chips. “When exactly did you see him?” He asked before pulling out a chip and putting the whole thing in his mouth. It was slightly distracting, but on reflection it would probably look stranger to Sarah if he took small delicate bites instead. Concentrate.
“Seconds before I got lost. He’s actually the reason I got lost. He’s blinding.” She realized she was rubbing her cheeks with her palms to ease the burn from her blushing when he grunted. It just made her blush even more. “So he’s bad?”
“The worst. He’s a pro at what he does and he’ll do anything to meet his quota. But bringing you here is taboo not to mention counter-productive. And if he did bring you here, I doubt he would just let you roam around unattended.” At that, he pushed away from the couch and walked over to the balcony window, looking down at the city below. “Maybe it was an accident… though I don’t know if that’s even possible. Maybe you both crossed paths at the exact same time that he was crossing to Brimstone, but if it were that easy…”
“People would accidentally cross all the time.”
She leaned back against the couch again, closing her eyes for just a moment as she imagined the man’s smile. “Is he really the worst? Worse than the great HER? Cause you looked like shit when I found you.”
He seemed to think about this a moment. “Worse. With her, you know what to expect. As twisted as she is, she is a creature of pain and misery. That man can blend in anywhere. He can be anyone. Anyone you know, anyone you have known and anyone you will know. Before you know it, he’ll have your soul and there’s no getting it back. You said he’s blinding? That’s exactly what he is. If there’s a lesson for you to learn, it’s the brighter something shines, the darker it really is.”