The previous installment of young Chloe Bradshaw’s saga can be found here.
“You have come to this new world in a time of war” I tell my new Demon recruit.
“War, what do you mean? There is no war.” Travis cuts in. I hold my hand up.
“Please, do not interrupt me,” I see a slight movement of the head – which could be a nod, though I am not overly sure in this light. “As I said, you have come in a time of war. Not a war against humanity, though having said that, it does involve humanity, but a war involving Demons and Hunters. Hunters are hell-bent on destroying every single Demon. They don’t know the full extent of our being and none of them have ever tried to find out. They don’t understand that we only kill because we have to, that we aren’t monsters and they are as bad as we are. They have been busy telling humans about us – those, I presume, whose loved ones died by our hand, for they are never satisfied with the reasons that the police give them.
“Two Hunters have already warned me of this. Both are dead. I don’t know why they have been singling me out. They said that their master has told them to do so. But I don’t even know who their master is. I didn’t even realise that they had one. I’m going to do all in my power to keep the Demon race going. I will recruit as many as possible before there are two or three times as many demons as there are humans. I’m sure as hell that others will help me.
“I will tell you what I told Marius on the matter. If there are no more demons in the world, the universe will cough up another danger for the humans. There is only one reason why we are here and that is to keep mankind’s numbers down. Human beings are their own failure. The universe seems to think the less of them the better, though the planet still needs them, as it needed them when humans first walked this earth.”
“You still haven’t told me how demons came upon this planet.” He finally answers me.
“I can’t tell you in fact, though I can tell you a legend…” I tell him of the dark witch and the Angel who she captured. He listens carefully, but I can tell he doesn’t believe it, just like Marius and I did not. The only thing that I think is true about the legend is that there were dark witches. I don’t think there have ever been any Angels. I don’t believe in Angels. And I am tired now. Very tired.
“Is there anywhere to sleep?” I ask.
“I always sleep on the floor,” Travis tells me. He exits the room for a few minutes and comes back with some blankets.
Before I lie down, I take my sword out of its sheath and put it onto the floor beside me. I make a pillow out of my jacket, the coldness of the zipper against my forehead. I don’t dream that night.
I wake up to a streak of light across my eyes. I open them to see through a crack in the wood a bright sun. I quickly shield my eyes away from the piercing light and sit up. I find Travis sitting at the table. Last night’s candle has burned down.
“Why do you keep a sword with you?” Travis asks.
“Just in case, Marius keeps one as well. Can you wield a sword?” I say.
“No, I haven’t even held one before.”
“Take this,” I hand him my sword. He swings it around, slicing through the air and narrowly missing my neck.
“Stop.” I say forcefully. “I’ll get you your own sword and I’ll teach you how to use it properly.”
“You were shouting. What’s going on?” A newly awoken Marius asks.
“Oh, don’t worry about it, Travis here just nearly cut my head of!” My voice rises without me realising.
“I said I was sorry,” Travis said.
“No, that’s the point, you didn’t.”
I lead them out. We must find Travis a sword. He needs one. Every Demon has one.
“I thought you said that he nearly chopped your head off,” Marius points out to me in the street.
“Yeah I did, but he has to learn how to use one. To fend off Hunters,”
“True. But you’re training him.” He says with a sly grin.
“Where are you going to get a sword? I haven’t seen any shop around here that sell them.” Travis asks.
“There are, believe me, you just have to know where to look.” I say. “Some Demons work – selling weapons.”
“And you know of Demons who live here?”
“No but other demons can always sense when others are around.”
I have no idea how Travis is taking this, his expression isn’t giving anything away. I still have to tell him that he won’t ever age, unless he doesn’t feed, in which case he will shrivel up and die. I have seen that happen to a few demons.
“Travis?” I say. “I have to tell you that you will never age…”
“That’s great!” he exclaims, again cutting me off.
“I haven’t finished. If you stop feeding upon humans you will age very fast, and die within one or two weeks, depending on how strong you are.”
“Then I will just continue to feed, it’s that simple.”
“Aye, I agree with you, though there is a chance that the Hunters will starve us.”
“What are the chances of that?” He asks flippantly, reminding me of his young age.
“More than you can imagine.” I stop abruptly just outside a darkened alley. “I think there, Marius.”
“Well, if we stand here forever outside the alley, just looking into it, we’ll look like idiots.” I say, and lead them on. I watch as a rat runs in front of us, seeking refuge in a pile of rubbish. We stop outside a small building. The windows are boarded up, letting no light in or out. I push the door in.
Behind a makeshift desk sits another Demon, fiddling with a dagger.
“Can I help you?” She asks.
“Have you got a sword for my friend here?” I push Travis forward.
“Sure,” She gets up from behind her desk and walks over to a wall with shelves jutting out of it. Stacked upon the many shelves are swords and daggers, the sheaths hung from hooks beside the shelves. She picks out a short sword and hangs it to Travis, who immediately proceeds to swing it around again.
“Don’t do that,” she scolds him.
“Sorry,” he murmurs..
“Do you think it’s wise for him to have a sword?” She asks.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s wise or not, we are in time of peril and we need all the demons we can muster to get through it.” I reply. “The Hunters have been recruiting more then ever; two have already been to warn me. Both were executed.”
“So that’s it then, soon every demon will be dead.” She says with resignation.
“Not necessarily, if we start recruiting now, there soon will be more Demons.”
“And how many Demons have you told of this mastermind plan yet then?”
“One. You. But that’s no matter. We have to try and win this war; I will not take it to my deathbed that I didn’t die trying. Every action counts.” I say.
The shopkeeper and Marius nod their approval.
“Is he the only one who you have turned?” The shopkeeper nods toward Travis.
“How do you know that I haven’t been around for ages?” He asks, obviously hurt by her comment.
“No demon that has been around for ages would swing a sword around like that.” She retaliates.
“Yes, yes, he’s the one. But do you know of any more Demons close by?”
“I know of one, however he is a while away,”
“Could you get to him and tell him about my plan?”
“Yes, I will get straight on it. Would you like the sword?”
“Yes, plus three daggers and a sheath.”
She took three daggers from the shelf and a sheath from a hook. I must explain to Travis what a sheath is. He really does betray his age.
The shopkeeper refuses any payment. I can only hope that she will follow through and alert the nearby Demons to my plan.