E v i l i e

The first time I met Rhylie, he saved my life. After 3 lonely, monotonous years of studious research and irritating dead-end leads, I'd finally managed to track down the crimson-eyed monster who'd killed my mother after ruthlessly exploiting her life. At the time I hadn't realized that she'd let me find her, naïve and so intensely craving of her banishment back to hell as I was, so I walked blindly right into her trap like an child led into a strangers car, under the pretense of candy or a puppy. Stupid, unsuspecting, and immature, though not completely undeserving of the consequences of my idiocy.

I knew of demon lore. Bellatrix knew that I knew. She didn't care, though, because despite the fact that I knew exactly how to kill her, she unfourtunately knew that I did not have the experience and expertise to execute that plan like I'd foolishly thought I did. The odds had never been in my favor, then. I had had no capability at all, simply an obsessed vendetta and blind hatred burning through my veins. Demonology was much more complex than I had ever hoped it would be.

Ah, demonology. A complicated, intricate thing that you do not ever want to get mixed up with, when given a choice. There are countless rules. The things that you see on TV, read in books…some are accurate, others are not. Either way, you don't want to go screwing around half-assed with something you may or may not know anything about. Demons are evil. They are unchecked, uncontrollable, completely raw evil. They come from the depths of hell, they associate with Satin. They have no boundaries, no end to the manipulation and torment they want to –and will-- cause. Demons are not something to be taken lightly. Ever.

However, some of the rules and restrictions that apply might prove to placate you a bit. Demons are forbidden from entering a home unless they are commanded to do so, or expressly invited. They cannot read thoughts, though they are manipulative and intuitive enough to know a shocking amount of things about you; things that would seem impossible to be discerned simply be observance. Salt is protective; spread it in a circle around you in a case of imminent danger, or around your home, and you cannot be touched unless you are tricked into letting them do so. But beware; demons are experts at nasty trickery. Crosses will not protect you, they are simply an age-old symbol of religion and protection with no real use.

Demons are able to possess anyone, any time and anywhere besides holy ground, despite what religious fanatics will tell you. A church is the only place you are really safe. Exorcisms do work, upon occasion, but most likely the demon will just shoot into the next available person or send themselves back to hell until they feel like coming back, due to the fact that they will writhe in pain without a body on earth.

Demons unfortunately have the ability to transport themselves to and from hell on a whim, unless they are forcibly banished back, bound to suffer and wreak havoc there until the gates are opened for the last time. Speaking an incantation and invoking the name of Jesus Christ will accurately banish the demon back to hell-- if you can get it to stay long enough to finish the incantation, which is as likely as hell freezing over, unless you've got a pentagram drawn either above or beneath it. Which brings up the fact that getting the demon to step into the pentagram is an exceedingly difficult action in itself unless, again, you know how to do it.

For instance, I had not known, at the time, that the outer circle of the pentagram must be lit on fire with a flammable substance mixed with blood. Morbid, but it works. I had carefully backed Bellatrix into the pentagram by threatening her with holy water, marveling at how the plan had worked so well, when she had consequently flashed her blood-red eyes at me and purposefully stepped right back out.

While I had been gaping incredulously, holy water gripped tightly in my hand, she'd made one full sweeping motion of her hand which had caused two things to happen: One, the holy water instantly flew so far away that the breaking of the bottle was simply a faint echo of shattering glass. Two, I was hurtled quickly across the alley, slammed back against the opposite wall with stars dancing in front of my eyes. I tried ignoring the blinding pain and muttering the incantation, but the concussion she'd intentionally given me had prevented any coherent thoughts from entering my brain.

If I had been by myself for ten minutes longer, she'd have finished me off. As it was I was lucky that she hadn't killed me, yet. Or unlucky, however you so choose to put it, since I was in a considerable amount of pain. Evidently I had been previously amusing her, running around and looking like the idiot that I hadn't known I was, being taunted by her kind day in and out, thinking I finally had her when really I so obviously did not. And, also, most importantly because she wanted to be the one to claim the soul that I would never willingly give up.

However, after I'd pissed her off one too many times, the amusement had apparently vanished and my soul wasn't worth the never-ending irritation I was causing.

Because that's all I was to her. Never a threat. Simply an annoyance. Time to kill me, piece of cake.

She'd had me gasping violently for my next breath, bleeding all over the concrete. Before she could kill me, Rhylie literally flew at her out of nowhere, brandishing holy water and furiously hissing the same incantation I'd been unable to gather my breath for. I was fleetingly half-conscious at the time, only awake enough to make out the foggy action with a half-aware sate of mind. Bellatrix could have stayed to finish me off, but if she'd have done that, Rhylie would have had time to finish the incantation and shortly after me, she'd have died.

I can still picture the wild look of absolute loathing that crossed her face; the terrifying glint of malice, the undeniable promise of payback in her crimson eyes, before she abandoned the body and went straight through the gorund; a thick, dirty swirl of substancial black smoke. This look still haunts my dreams.

He's been doing this for a while, I remember musing indistinctly to myself, He's probably killed a lot of those red-eyed fiends.

I was jealous, though. Insanely jealous. I remember that very clearly, irrational though the response might have been. After all the time I had spent obsessively hunting her down, I could not hold my own and prince effing charming had to prance in and save the day. What's worse, I couldn't even get myself up off the filthy ground to storm away from him like the stubborn, slightly masochistic person that I still am. I could barely keep myself awake.

It was bad. I had blood seeping into my matted hair from a deep, jagged gash on my head. It slanted awkwardly down from the middle of my left eyebrow, slashing through my eyelid though it had thankfully missed my actual eye, --since I'd closed it tightly shut while I'd braced for the blow—and it ended just at my neck. It would leave one hell of a nasty scar. The blood was periodically dripping into my left eye, annoying me every time I had to blink it away.

Not to mention the multitude of other cuts and bruises and an extremely painful concussion, which left me reeling to and from consciousness every few seconds. A broken rib or three, and a sprained wrist, I would later be informed. I would have been fine –or at least had a clear head-- had I not hit my head on the alley wall when she'd flung me backwards, but unfortunately I had, and I was paying for it then.

"She drew bloodk" Rhylie had growled incredulously after dropping to his knees beside me, his ocean blue eyes sparking with fierce indignation. "She's got blood claim on you." His hands had hovered unsurely over my shoulder area, where the already threadbare fabric of my shirt had been slashed to bits by her incredibly painful nails. "It's-"

"Not nearly as bad as it looks," I'd finished cynically, biting back an unanticipated wince of pain as I pulled myself up to lean on my elbows. The world was too close yet too far away at the same time, and every time I thought I was fully aware, I'd be viscously sucked away once again, dangling right before the edge of darkness. "I just... need to get...away...from here."

"Are you insane?" He had asked in disbelief, scoffing at the idea. I'd blinked at him, wanting to scowl but not having the energy, instead trying to blare out my unrestrained anger at him through my eyes. "I need to get you to a hospital."

The idea of a hospital had caused me to jolt into full awareness, which then caused the injuries to flare to life with an incredible throbbing amount of pain, breaking the numbness I'd been precariously holding onto. I cried out, my face contorting into a wince, which just caused everything to be remarkably worse because it yanked unexpectedly at the gash on my face.

"I'm a runaway," I'd gasped, curling in on myself to attempt to alleviate the sharp, cutting edge. "It costs money for medical…treatment, and th- they'd ask about…" I gritted my teeth against the blinding pain and continued. "…My parents... figure out that I'm a- a minor, and then it would just bring about a lot…of awkward…. questions…"

"I'll take care of that," He'd responded authoratively, while I watched him whip out an old, beaten up cell phone through my sparodic hazy vision, though my mind was completely clear due to the adrenaline rush. As he was dialing 911 I hissed violently at him, cursing creative obscenities under my breath, since it was all I could really do. "You stupid, bigheaded, irrational…"

"Yes, I need an ambulance now." His voice took on a worried, slightly hysterical edge almost instantly. He'd definitely been anxious before, but this was a lightning-fast, professional change of tone and I had known he was acting. He was good at it, he really sounded as if he were grieving the near death of a loved one. "My girlfriend just got attacked, we're at—"

I growled at him, "Girlfriend?" God, I hated Rhylie so much in the beginning. That lie had been too much to handle at the moment.

After he finished his rant and hung up, he abruptly turned back to me. "Listen, our stories are going to need to match. They'll have you speak to the police, and I'll be a potential suspect. We've been going out for two years, we're in love. Don't look at me like that, it's going to be more credible in my defense if they think we're in love, it gives me less of a reason to hurt you than if I were a stranger, it means I'll have no motive. You were walking down the street by yourself to meet me, like the silly, whimsical girl you are—" I'd opened my mouth to argue again, but he'd continued on regardless, with only a chiding glare, "—when you were attacked. I came just in time to save you, and I called the police while you were unconscious. Okay?"

"Why… don't you just leave now? You won't have…" I took in a shallow breath. "…To save face."

"I'm not letting that bitch come back to finish you off; she's got blood claim now, so you can't defend yourself."

"I'll kill her anyway."

The determined malice in my voice had obviously surprised him, and he shook his head in angry resignation, dirty blonde hair falling into his stunning blue eyes. I noticed some unreadable emotion lurking in them. "It's literally impossible, and you know that. Trying, after what happened today, would be suicide." He sighed, then locked eyes with me as if something had just occured to him. "What's your name, by the way?"

"You want the real name?" I spat sarcastically. I sighed, breathing in and out through my mouth. "Or…how about… the one I'm going to tell them at the hospital?"

"The one you'll use at the hospital, please."

"Raine Benson." It was my mother's first name. I changed my name periodically, when I met strangers, just as a precaution. Generally, it was just generic, like Jane Anderson, or Amy smith, or something alike to that, but I was feeling the anguish of my failure to avenge her death so strongly then, that it just slipped out, seeming right. "And yours?"

"Rhylie Gellar." An ambulance wailing sounded off in the distance, faint but steadily growing louder. "It's my real name," He needlessly informed me.

"Your funeral," I had muttered. Then, knowing it was safe to do so, "Do you mind…if I pass out now?"

I didn't get to hear his answer, because the ground had come furiously rushing up to meet me. If he had not been there, I don't doubt that I would have been beaten to an inch of my life, and left to bleed out alone in that alley. As I said, though ironically enough, we truly held nothing but hate for each other for in the beginning, the first time i met Rhylie, he did save my life.

Sometimes, when I'm stupid enough to let my thoughts wander, and I think about him, I don't know how I can possibly manage to take my next breath without the fire in my lungs spreading throughout my entire body. Most times, I don't even want to breathe. I just want to curl up into myself like I did that night, and not feel anything at all, let numbness overtake me. Sometimes it's so much more than I can handle, to think about the next day and the next looming forebodingly before me, knowing I won't wake up and know he's there, knowing that I can never hug him or kiss him again, never feel his arms around me.

I take it minute by minute, and hope that that's enough. It never is. Two excruciatingly long months since I sold my soul for him, and the pain hasn't lessened, time hasn't stopped ticking. The only temporary escape I ever indulge in is hunting, knowing that every time I send one of those red-eyed fiends back to hell, I'm saving someone like me the pain of repeated heartbreak, saving someone like Rhylie from living a lie.

He was like my drug, my heroin; addictive, always lifting me up into an amazing high just when I really needed a temporary escape from reality. Sadly enough, most people never find that one person they're meant to be with. In my opinion, they are the ones who made up the saying, It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. The majority of the rest of us, once that person has gone, are entirely too bitter and clouded by the threatening melancholy of reality to think of what once was with a smile and even bittersweet tears.

But I have never been grouped in with the majority. I would never wish for that idyllic year with him to have never happened. Without having met Rhylie, I would have never really learned how to live. I would have never learned how to be completely myself, and know it was enough. I would have never known what it was like to love someone so intensely that it hurt sometimes; I could be with him forever, and it wouldn't be ever enough. I would have never stared straight into someone's eyes and seen the reflection of our futures intertwined. I would never say the mushy things that others cringe to hear, coming from anothers mouth. From the moment I met him, he was my entire life.

A life for a life. Ultimately I repayed him, but I'd rather be in his debt for the rest of my life than be nothing to him at all.