Author's Notes: And here's another chapter for you :D Let me know in le comment box below if you would like to read more ;D
A few weeks into working at the old bookstore, it became apparent that Harris wasn't just any old bookkeeper. He hadn't given me any proof that he practiced magic, but I couldn't make myself believe that he didn't. He was well aware of my fascination of books dealing in strong magic and demonology. Almost any other person would have tried to talk sense into me, telling me I was crazy to even look at a demon book; I could only imagine what my father's reaction might be if he knew what I was studying late at night. Harris, however, only watched with amusement as I hungrily absorbed all the knowledge I could from the tattered and yellowed pages of his odd collection. Occasionally he offered me a bit of advice on what books were more reliable, or which I should read next. However, no book or text was ever as telling as the scrolls he had in his backroom. I had three now, having been given each as payment for some odd task or chore. I had learned more from those three scrolls than I had from entire books, and I hungered for more.
I won't deny that I tried to take a scroll or two while Harris was preoccupied, but I quickly learned my lesson. The first scroll I snatched was, to my utter disappointment, blank. Thinking I had grabbed a dud, I reached for another. Upon unrolling the second scroll, the thing burst into green flames, scorching my hands. I dropped it with a yelp, only to see that it wasn't on fire or the least bit damaged. Harris had walked in to see what the racket was, and he only smiled knowingly and left the room when he saw what I had done.
The next day, I apologized for trying to steal the scrolls. He waved his old, calloused hand dismissively and smiled again. "Do ya really want another of my scrolls? I'll tell ya what ya can do for one." I had jumped at the opportunity, of course, only to find that his "task" involved doing all of his laundry. He was an odd old man, for sure.
On my seventeenth birthday, my mom cornered me. My dad was at work, due home in about an hour for my birthday dinner. I had just finished putting my spell book collection back under my bed where I kept them when she walked into my room; two short knocks were the only warning I got.
"Clover," she greeted, giving me a questioning look as I picked myself up off the floor.
"Dropped something" I mumbled, sitting down on my bed. I doubted she believed me, but she didn't press it. Instead, she pushed the door closed and crossed my room to join me on my bed. I often wondered what she had seen in my dad; where he was rough and weathered, she looked more like an angel. She had shoulder-length brown hair and brilliant green eyes, both of which she had passed down to me. We were often mistaken for brother and sister as I grew into my teens. Though something about her was different than the last time I had really paid attention. The lines of age and worry were slowly beginning to show on her round face and she looked tired and rumpled. It had been a long time since I really had paid attention. I had spent the past few years so absorbed in my books that I had hardly given my parents a second thought. Suddenly, I felt a bit guilty.
"I know you've been busy this past few years, with studies and all," she began, reading my mind, "but you really need to make room in your life for more than just books." I opened my mouth to apologize, but she held a finger up and I kept quiet. From behind her, she pulled out a present that I hadn't seen her bring in. It was rectangular and thick, feeling like a book as she handed it to me. Fearing that it was some cheesy manual on bringing families together, I edged the recycled-paper-bag-packaging open and held my breath.
"A magic book?" I practically choked, a thousand thoughts going through my mind at once. Had she seen my collection? Did dad know? Had they seen the demon texts? Were they okay with me doing magic?
"Now, don't tell your father!" Her ears were red and I knew she was embarrassed to be doing something behind my father's back.
"I won't… but, I thought you said I needed to make room for more than books." It was a question, and she turned a bit redder as she smiled.
Noticing the dog-eared page, I thumbed to it and read the title of the spell. "MOM!" I dropped the book like it was on fire, but it landed open to the same page. At least ten shades redder than she was, I stared at the page in horror. It was a contraception spell.
"Well, Clover!" Her voice was high, but she tried not to laugh. "You need a girlfriend! I know you like magic; I figured it would be better than a box of condoms!" I tried to speak, but nothing came out. "You've only got a year left in high school, and you can't just miss out on prom!" I coughed, trying to find my voice, but she wasn't done. "Are you gay? I mean, if you are, it's okay! Then you won't need the spell, but you've got to go to prom. I only have one kid, Clover, and that's you. You've grown up so fast and I haven't even gotten to dress you up for a single dance."
She seemed to be finished, but just as I found my voice, a door slammed and we both jumped. "Dad's home," I coughed, leaping at the book and shoving it under my bed. I heard the familiar 'thunk' of his shoes being dropped on the floor, and before I could stand up again my mom was out of my room and greeting him at the door.
As their voices drifted to the other end of the house, I pulled the book back out to shut it neatly and tuck it away in a further corner. Hesitating, I yanked it back out and thumbed through the pages. Though my mom had probably only given it to me for that particular spell, the book held many more. I flipped to the table of contents and began to read, so engrossed at the wide variety of spells that I didn't even notice the wind rustle my hair or the scent of honey and roses fill my room.
"Happy birthday, Clover."
I yelped, throwing the book a second time and jumping forward. I hadn't realized how close I had been to my nightstand, though, and I whacked my forehead on the corner. "Nika!" I scolded, hand over the growing bump on my head. She had appeared behind me, leaning over my shoulder to whisper in my ear. Now she lay on her back, clutching her middle as she laughed hysterically. Fearing my parents would hear her, I half-crawled to her and put my other hand over her mouth. "Nika, be quiet! My parents will hear you!" Her laughing slowed to a quiet giggle and she opened her glowing red eyes to fix them on mine. I took my hand off her mouth and sat back, blushing at the sight of her lying before me, scantly clad and gasping for breath. "Jeez, Nika, you could've killed me. Have you ever heard of heart-attacks?" I leaned back to sit on my butt and averted my eyes.
"You still do that." Her bells jingled cheerfully as she sat up and reached a hand up, taking my chin and turning my face back toward her. "Why do you look away when you blush? It's cute." She giggled again, but it was a mocking laugh and I pulled my face away.
"What do you want?" I said, embarrassed and in pain. My head was throbbing and I was starting to worry about my parents again.
"I came to wish you a joyful birthday. Isn't that what you humans do? Celebrate the passing of the years?"
Hearing her refer to 'human' habits as a foreign thing startled me, reminding me that she was a demon. She could kill me in an instant if she wanted to. "Why haven't you killed me?" I blurted, suddenly curious.
"I can't kill you now; you have to summon me and set me free. I haven't killed you the past two times because you summoned me incorrectly. I'm waiting for you to do it the right way." The glint in her eyes that usually seemed mischievous suddenly appeared dangerous. I unconsciously moved away from her, but my back met the side of the bed. She rolled forward onto her hands and knees and crawled toward me, straddling me. "Let me see your wound, little mage." My emotions were a confused mess as she pulled my hand away and leaned close to inspect. "That's a nice little bump you're going to have there."
"Get off," I mumbled, averting my eyes once more and trying to ignore the fact that her short skirt had ridden up and I could feel her breasts pressing against me. I started to relax when she leaned back, thinking she was going to get off and go away. Instead, she remained on my lap and took my hand. It was the hand that had been covering my head, and I noticed now that there was a bit of blood on it. Seeing Nika's mischievous grin grow, I started to pull my hand away. Her grip was like steal, though, and I could do nothing as she lifted my palm to her mouth and closed her eyes. Her lips parted and she traced the blood with her tongue, sending a jolt from my palm straight to my groin. I gasped in further embarrassment when her eyes flicked to mine and she said, "Have I aroused you, Clover? Surely you remember I'm a demon. I take pleasure in things that would cause you to hate me." She pressed into me and I had a hard time stifling a moan. "Go find yourself a good little human girlfriend, Clover. You might live a little longer that way."
Before I could even blink, she vanished with a chill breeze of air.