|Hearts of Steel
Author: Steelshade PM
Born and raised in a small suburb of Chicago, Sable Clayson's simple life if taken for a joyride by supernatural beings: Angels and Demons. Thrown into their world, Sable finds her true role, and learns these beings are not demons nor angels to begin withRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 8 - Words: 12,792 - Reviews: 12 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 11-26-12 - Published: 10-26-10 - id: 2859051
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A dull murmer of voices fill the 10th grade classroom around me as my fellow peers sit in homeroom, waiting for the bell to dismiss us to our first class of the day. I attempt to stifle a yawn as I rest my elbows on the sand-colored desk in front of me. Strawberry blonde waves of hair fall over my shoulders as I rest my head on my hand. It is going to be a long Monday.
My eyes flicker to my Rubik's cube that sits beside my books in front of me. I take it in my free hand and turn the rows absent-mindedly with my thumb. A pile of messy papers are dropped over my hand, Rubik's cube and all, and I look up at the person standing over me.
"Good morning, Michael. What's this?" I ask in a dry tone, twitching my hand to make the papers move. I already have a good guess at what he was showing me.
"Demons," he says, giving the papers, obviously printed off the internet, a satisfactory tap with his pencil. I inhale deeply through my nose as I roll my eyes, removing my hand from under the papers. I lean back in my chair, giving the Rubik's cube my full attention. Michael snatches the papers indignantly, taking a seat on my desk and flipping through them.
"Spitfire, the latest demonic trouble maker, once again escaped custody after setting fire to a local resident's home. Eye witnesses describe his sudden disappearance as quick as snuffing out a flame." The paper blocks the view of my Rubik's cube as Michael holds it in front of my face. A black and white picture of the so-called "demon" grins back at me, all messy hair and unnecessary piercings. Black markings border his eyes, running down his jawline in flowing black lines. I scoff as I bat the paper away.
"Its fake, Mike. You got that off some phony sci-fi junkie's web page." I told my over-imaginative friend.
"This site's reliable," he counters matter-of-factly. I give him my famously sarcastic you-can't-be-serious look, up through my lowered brows, keeping silent as the Rubik's cube clicks away quietly. Michael's eyes study the paper again. After a small pause between us, Michael turns his head toward me.
"I know how he disappeared," he says softly. I don't reply, keeping my attention fixed on the puzzle. "He teleported. Demons can create portals from thin air, back to-"
"Oh my God!" I hiss, tromping all over his last statement. "Mike. Michael. Dude. It was fun to pretend and play make-believe when we were little kids, but this is getting way out of hand," I tell him bluntly. Michael straightens, his brow lowering.
"For a while, I thought you would actually believe me, Sable," he starts, his tone glacial as the timbre of his voice darkens, "But I guess I was dead wrong. You know what? I hope you run into a demon for real some day, and maybe then you'd actually believe me. You'd better wish that it isn't Hexus you meet that day." Before I could say anything, he turns on his heel and returns to his own desk across the room. An odd feeling worms its way into my gut after the mention of the particular demon. Hexus, the demon Mike deems the most dangerous, and according to him, is responsible for many of our local murders.
The bell rings, shaking me from my thoughts. With a heavy sigh, I gather my things and follow the stream of students out the door.
The school day is long and boring, and I was glad to be in the mob of teenagers as I exited the building. The sun is shining happily in the sky, warming my bare arms as I start my 5-block journey to home. The loud roll of skateboard wheels growl closer, and Michael is soon circling me. I hadn't seen him all day.
"Hey," he greets, slowing to match my speed.
"Hey," I echo. The rolling of his skateboard wheels fills the silence between us. After a few moments, Michael speaks up.
"I'm sorry about this morning, Sable," he says quietly, his voice barely audible over his skateboard.
"Its okay. I should be the one apologizing," I told him, giving him a smile. I can't stay angry at my best friend for long. He nods in acceptance, then changes the subject.
"Is your dad gonna be home?" he asks.
"I dunno. I hope not. I don't feel like dealing with his drunkenness at the moment," I say, a small hint of anxiety creeping up on me.
We soon reach my house, its design and handicraft my father's. Michael waves as he throws his skateboard on the ground and takes a running leap onto it. I twiddle my fingers at his receding form, and head down my front walk. My steps are slow and stalled as I wonder again if my father was home. My father. The alcoholic. He had turned to alcohol after mom left. I was never told the full story of why she left, why she returned to France without so much as a goodbye. One day she was just gone. Whenever I ask dad about it, he becomes angry, and shouts at me not to ask questions. I had learned quickly to keep silent about that subject.
I pull the house key from the back pocket of my jeans, and push it in the keyhole. After the lock clicks softly, I open the door into the house. Letting the door swing in, I pause in the threshold. The house is quiet. I am silent as I shut the door behind me, and creep through the house. The living room is a mess, as was the kitchen. I carefully pick my way to the stairwell, and up to my room on the second floor. My father wasn't home. Which meant he was out drinking on his day off of work. Which meant he would come home in a drunken rage.
I close my bedroom door behind me, and drop my bag on the maple wood floor. With a sigh, I fall against the mattress on my floor, and instantly begin to feel drowsy as I let all my muscles relax. I let my eyelids drop closed.
A few minutes pass, and I doze in and out of little catnaps. A sudden pressurized sensation in the room fully rouses me, and I bolt up, confused. I jump as the sound of ripping fabric tore the air, and a massive form falls out of nowhere onto my floor. I become rigid as I smack my hand over my mouth to stifle the vocal gasp. A large beast is sprawled on my floor, its form rising and falling rapidly in heavy, wheezing breaths. It has the general form of a hulking human, but instead of feet, it has large horse hooves, the big shaggy kind of a Clydesdale. The hooves were originally white, now mud-caked and filthy. The beast is clothed in ragged jeans, and the frayed fragments of a plaid shirt. Its skin is a raw, sickly red color, with many spots, scars, and patches of rotting flesh. The beast is barrel-chested and bulky, built of corded and rippling muscles. Charred white horns protrude from the top of its heavily ridged forehead, curving back and out to frame its wide face, and long sharp tusks stick up against its cheeks from its under biting jaw, which was slacked as the beast panted. Where its nose should have been is an empty crevice, like that of a skull bone nose. From the shoulder to the elbow of its left arm, the limb is proportionate to the rest of the beast, but from the elbow down, the arm enlarges to a massive claw with glinting ivory talons. I now notice that the beast was covered in deep gashes. Silver-colored liquid was oozing from its wounds.
I stare, frozen. The beast groaned, a deep rumbling sound, as it begins to stir. Its eyes snap open. They are heavily bloodshot, with smoky lavender irises. They dart around the room in confusion as the beast uses its massive claw to lift itself from the floor. Its face twists into an ugly grimace as it grunts, clutching its side, and it falls back to the floor. Its horns connect with the wood in a loud bang, causing me to gasp and jump. The beast's eyes shoot to me. It seems completely taken aback by my presence, and it scrambles to stand. It gives a guttural roar, causing me to wince and cower against the wall. Adrenaline pumps as my fight or flight mode kicks in, and I snatch the baseball bat that rests against my mattress. With trembling hands, I brandish it like a sword. The beast's roar morphs into a chortling laugh. It unnerves me to the core.
"Are you going to take on a demon with that, girl?" he asks, his voice scratchy. I swallow hard, my heart pounding.
"Who are you?" I demand, my voice more confident than I felt. He let out a rumbling laugh, the sound raising the hair on the back of my neck.
"You don't know who I am?" he inquires, placing his gigantic claw on his chest in a hurt manner. "I'm Hexus!" he barks, his demeanor turning suddenly nasty. At his shout, I drop the bat, and fall against the mattress.
"I don't believe in demons…" I whisper, screwing my eyes shut tight. Hexus' hooves sound against the wooden floor.
"Don't believe in demons?" he said softly, his voice creamy and dream-like, and very close in my ear. I open my eyes, only to jump back in repulsion. His hideous face is only inches in front of mine. He takes my chin in his normal hand, digging his fingers painfully into my skin. His touch sickens me. He forces my face back toward him, his lavender gaze burning.
"Smart girl," he whispers, with a suppressed intensity, "Because demons don't exist!" Grasping me by the neck, he hoists me high above the room. I gag, grasping at his thick wrist in attempt to breathe.
"Its been nice chatting with you," he told me, bloodshot eyes gleaming.
"Do it," I challenge with a fierce choke, the adrenaline coursing through me as I match his glare.
"I plan on it." Hexus flexes his giant claw as the thick talons extend a few inches. I close my eyes as a feeling of hopelessness rises to challenge the adrenaline. My body sways as Hexus strikes. A bright light flashes against my eyelids, and Hexus roars as he releases me. Gasping, I fall onto the bed. The beast stumbles back in a clutter of hooves, clutching his claw and staggering blindly as I suck in gallons of oxygen. Hopelessness gone, the adrenaline takes over and I grasp the baseball bat as I stand. Taking advantage of the temporarily blinded beast, I swing as hard as I could. The bat connects with the back of his head, on the area right below his horns. Hexus topples to the floor with a mighty crash, his horns gouging the wood. I drop the bat, holding my arms tight against me as the pain from the reverberation shoots through my arms. Shakily, I raise a hand to my throbbing neck. My fingers touch something wet. I draw back my hand to examine it, and find my fingers covered in a silvery liquid. It glistens as I roll it between my fingers. I glance up at the unconscious demon. The same silver liquid is pooled around him, oozing from his many wounds. I bite my lip. There are knives in the kitchen, it would be easy to kill this beast…
I shake my head as my stomach churns uneasily. I couldn't kill someone, demon or otherwise. Carefully, I stand and creep over to the huge mass of Hexus. I kneel hesitantly beside him, his silvery blood soaking into the knees of my jeans. With a heave, I roll him over onto his back. His breathing is shallow and ragged, and I hesitantly place two fingers on the side of his thick neck. His skin is cold and unpleasant, and his pulse is weak.
I stand and move to a box that sits beside my mattress, and dig through it briefly before pulling out an old set of bed sheets. I tear them into strips, and when I finish, I skirt to the bathroom for some wet rags and soap. I return to Hexus fully armed, and begin to tentatively and experimentally bandage the gashes that cover him.