I sat up in bed, gasping for breath, and brushed the damp hair away from my face. A second later the door opened, and I could see Myrrh looking in with concern.
I gestured for her to come in, throwing the sheets off.
“You’re up late.” I pointed out, folding my arms.
“My room is beside yours. You were shouting.” She replied, her eyes looking right through me.
“Bad dream. No big deal. You should go back to sleep.” I added, rubbing my eyes.
“I was sent here to serve you, your Excellence – “
“…Zara. And you look like you could use another bath.”
She was right. My sweat was starting to chill on my skin and I felt disgusting. I slumped over in defeat.
“Fine. Just a quick dip. And then you’re going straight to sleep, and I’ll put a sock in my mouth so I don’t wake you up again.”
She looked pleased.
By the time the bath was ready my initial rush of adrenaline had long faded and I stumbled to my feet, yawning.
Myrrh helped me peel off my clothes before I stepped gingerly into the tub, sighing with relief as the scorching water swallowed me up to my neck.
I suddenly remembered my mother spilling boiling water on me after I ran into the kitchen, those days, weeks, ages ago. I remembered the look of horror on her face, replaced by the vacant stare that resulted from me telling her she was dreaming. Mild hypnosis on ‘humans’ must have been one of my ‘abilities’.
I wasn’t thinking about my demon powers, though. I was thinking about my mom. Her food. Her smiles. Her suffocating hugs.
I wondered what she would think if she knew me now. Knew that I was a murderer. A soldier for Satan.
I wished I could show her what I was. Show her that I was no longer the daughter she knew, that I was morally destitute and alone.
Maybe then she wouldn’t have any sleepless nights thinking I was her baby girl, trapped in a world of monsters and psychos. She would realize I was one of them now.
No more steaming bowls of soup when I was sick, no more painting my nails or embarrassing attempts at gossip. It had all been taken away when Eversio came knocking at the door.
Myyrh was washing my hair. I felt my shoulders sag as she massaged the soapy suds into my scalp.
“Do you have any family?” I asked suddenly, staring at the wall in front of me.
I felt her hands pause momentarily as she deliberated the question.
“My father, I guess. I probably have some siblings or half-siblings but I never bothered trying to figure out who they were.”
“What about your mother?”
“We…don’t really speak to each other.”
“Sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”
“It’s fine. I never really knew her that well, so it’s not a big deal.”
“What’s your father like?”
“He’s a very smart man.”
“Does he love you?”
“I…I’m not sure.” She replied, sounding taken aback by my question.
“Sorry, again.” I sighed, “I don’t express myself very well at 3 a.m. I just…your dad probably cares about you a lot. You should appreciate him, while you can.”
“You might be right, Zara.”
“What happened to Your Excellence?”
“I – my – “
I turned around, my tone deadpan.
“It’s a joke. You can laugh, Myrrh.”
She laughed a little and I nodded, turning back around.
“That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
“No, it wasn’t.”
“Now, I expect you to laugh at all of my jokes. Is that clear?”
“…That was a joke.”
“I was laughing on the inside.”