"Noctivus, I'm sending you up there to do my bidding. You do understand that, don't you?" The voice was deep and raspy, as if the vocal chords had burned up long ago. It was a voice that made the demon kneeling before Him tremble.
"Understand?!" The voice grew louder.
The walls of Hell shook and cracked and fragments of burning stone tumbled to the ground. Noctivus nodded, swallowing a rising lump in his throat.
"Then go." It wasn't a question. It was a command.
Noctivus, the demon cast out of the light and sent straight into the belly of Hell, widened his eyes and vanished. The only thing that remained of him was the thick stench of fear. It floated around the Dark Master until He licked His lips and let out a puff of smoke that inhaled and devoured the smell.
"You were to do my bidding!" roared the demonic being of the underworld.
"My Lord I-"
"Do not interrupt me! I gave you specific orders!"
Noctivus trembled, as brave as he had become during his time in the mortal realm, he couldn't help but be overwhelmed with the fear that wrapped around his mind like one of the fiery infernos that spun through Hell. He fell down to his knees as the great ruler rose.
"You were to send me souls..." The Devil hissed, bits of flames tumbling from His charred lips, "Not to spend your time...swooning over some...some mortal."
"But...my Lord...I did send you...souls," Noctivus whispered, raising his eyes merely to stare at the cloven feet of the Dark Master.
"Bah!" the overlord of the darkness waved His hand, as if making an attempt to remove the comment from the air. "One hundred souls in a year? Not nearly enough! You dare call this progress?!"
The demon dressed in a human skin could only shake his head. He kept his gaze on the blackened floating rock that was the floor and tried not to enrage Lucifer further.
"You are a failure to your kind. I sent you to their world to do as I wished! But you...instead you start lusting over a mortal!"
"How dare you betray me?! How dare you betray your own kind?!" Fire spurted up from around the rock, increasing the fear that coursed through Noctivus's body. The lesser demon, froze and cowered before his master. "You could've just had your way with her and be done with it!"
Noctivus then looked up at the Dark Lord Satan and set his teeth angrily. "I don't lust after her," he defended.
"Oh?" Satan sneered, revealing His charred, rotten teeth and long snake tongue in the process.
"I love her," snarled Noctivus, an anger like never before rising up from inside him. As terrified as he was of the Devil, he found himself hating the Dark Lord for being brought back to the underground pit that was his original domain.
"Love?" there was something of a hoarse laugh that came from Satan's throat. The Beast of Hell leaned down close to Noctivus's human face and hissed, "Love? Demons know nothing of love. Demons can not love."
"I love her!" snapped Noctivus, daring to challenge the Evil One.
There was a growl and then the Demon of the Underworld snapped His clawed fingers. In an instant Hell had vanished. They were in a light-pink painted apartment that was oh-so different than the fiery domain that was Lucifer's prison. It was a strange place though the pair of them knew exactly where they were. Noctivus found himself fearful once more.
The demon turned and found himself standing next to a man in his early sixties. A sharply dressed man with cruel, spiteful features. His brows were low set above His dark, sunken eyes. His lips were pale and when He smiled at Noctivus, the lesser demon could see the sharpened teeth within the Devil's mouth. It was a fearful sight but not nearly as terrifying as the fact that they were in Abigail's apartment.
Noctivus's mouth went dry and his head spun a bit. This was the place that he had spent time with her, had held hands with her, had laughed with her and had simply been with her. He glanced at the Fiend standing next to him. He could not be here. This creature of the darkness couldn't be in Abigail's apartment. This place was sacred. It was a sanctuary.
"Why are we here?" Noctivus whispered, wringing his hands in front of him. But the Devil only smiled.
"Noctivus?" came a soothing, soft voice.
The lesser demon hesitated for a moment. His heart thumping wildly in his chest before he whirled around to stare at the beauty that was his love. She smiled at him, though he could tell she was unnerved. Perhaps she sensed the evil that had come into her apartment or maybe it was simply the fact that he had entered with this strange man without saying a word.
"You told her your name?" hissed the Dark One.
Noctivus didn't answer. He refused to give up the girl's name. He defied the Devil beside him and instead, he merely gave Abigail a small smile and took a step forward. He felt a firm hand grip his shoulder and he stopped moving, held in place by Satan's sheer force of will.
"What...what a pleasant surprise," Abigail said gently, giving the other man a very cautious glance. "I thought you were going to be away for a few days."
"I was but...I came back," he chuckled weakly, trying to tell her with his eyes that he didn't mean for what was happening.
"Well," she smiled, "I'm glad. And who...who is this?"
She stepped forward, holding out her hand to the grim faced man in front of her. The man made no move to shake her hand. He merely glared at her, His dark eyes watching her with a frightening intensity. She lowered her hand and Noctivus noticed her smile falter just slightly.
"This...oh," Noctivus stumbled over his words, "this is...ah..."
There was a crackling in the air and the room felt hot. Noctivus trembled as the Fiend next to him shed His human skin. The Devil beside him let out a guttural cry and threw aside the flesh that He had disguised Himself with. Apparently, the Dark One's rage couldn't be quenched any longer.
Noctivus felt an overwhelming and paralyzing fear that made him sink to his knees. He watched Abigail and found her standing in the center of the room, unblinking. He thought he could see her tremble but perhaps that was just the sudden light attacking her shadow. Her eyes were wide as she stared at the disgusting monster before her. She shook and stared. It seemed she could not tear her eyes from the fiery Fiend that had appeared in her apartment. The smell of burning flesh and death was heavy in the air. It was imposing and almost suffocating.
"Speak your name," commanded the Devil in his hissing, snapping voice.
Noctivus shook his head and let out a weak cry. "Don't!"
Satan snarled something incomprehensible and waved his hand. Noctivus's lips sealed up tightly so he couldn't speak at all, regardless of the attempts he made. He could only watch Abigail and pray that his one word of advice would keep her quiet.
She shook her head, sealing her lips and finally taking a step backwards. She could feel the evil in the air. The hissing and popping of it that made her realize, deep down, who this man actually was. Noctivus watched her carefully. If she spoke her name who knows what the Fiend could do with so much power? A name could mean that she tied her services to him, forfeited her life or even her soul. The last thing Noctivus wished her to do was to reveal her name.
"Ah...fine, my little mute flower. I shall ask this one." The Great Demon of Hell raised His boney hand and pointed it down at Noctivus.
Noctivus cringed and immediately felt an agonizing fire spread over his back. There was a voice inside his head that hissed to him, tell me her name! His lips pried themselves open, ripping the flesh apart in one brutal motion. Noctivus screamed and writhed on the floor, howling in sheer pain until his throat burned and his eyes dripped tears. But he would not speak. The Devil snorted in disgust and curled His hand into a fist. There was a sickening crunch that cut off the lesser demon's scream of pain. It was finished off by Abigail, poor Abigail, who had fallen to her knees and allowed the tears to fall from her eyes.
"Stop!" she screamed. "You're killing him!"
The Devil released His hand and allowed His arm to drop back down at His side. Noctivus, lay unmoving on the carpet, his body twisted in a sickening position with his arms bent backwards and his legs mangled. It didn't seem as though he were breathing and his eyes were closed tightly from the pain he had endured.
"Why are you doing this?" came the soft cry from Abigail. "Please...leave him alone..."
Satan looked at the young girl with the black pits that held no eyes. He snapped His teeth and hissed, smoke rising from His nostrils and dripping from His mouth.
"You...care for this...thing?"
She nodded, weeping and staring up at the Devil with such a horrified hate that almost surprised Lucifer. He snarled, waving His arm and forcing all light to flee from the room as if it had never even been there. The only source of light came from the fire that danced around Satan's hooves and scorched the carpet.
She stared at Noctivus, who still hadn't moved, and nodded once more. It was a single, final nod that left the Devil fuming.
"Ha!" He laughed, sending sparks into the air. "Well...let us see how much you love him in his true form!"
There was yet again another sickening crunch as the demon waved His hand in a circle. Abigail watched, through her tear filled fearful eyes, as the love of her life's body began to change. His limbs snapped back into place, each with a crack, and suddenly she heard him gasp. She smiled at first but it quickly faded as Noctivus's cries started up again.
He yelped and screamed as his skin began to bubble. His mouth foamed and his face began to elongate into something of a short muzzle. The hair on his head vanished and his skin changed to a murky black color. A rotting smell entered the air and two great black, leathery wings pushed their way out of the skin on his back. He screamed and twisted, his eyes turning to two glowing golden orbs of violence and evil. Long fangs changed the place of his normal teeth and his ears elongated to sharp points. Horns pushed out from the skin of his forehead, causing black blood to drip down his face. His body convulsed and shook in a sickening way. Eventually, his howls faded and he remained on the ground, shivering and trembling.
"Now you see," snarled the Devil. "This is the creature you love! This is the creature who's told you how pretty you are! This is the creature whose fucked you! Whose eaten meals with you! Whose held your hand and spent time with you!"
Abigail shook her head slowly. "No," she moaned, fresh tears springing from her eyes and cascading down her face. "No."
Noctivus didn't dare look up at her. His heart quivered inside his demonic chest and he could hardly breathe. His bones ached from the brutal transformation but it didn't matter. She had seen him. She knew what he really was.
"He is a demon! A monster! A being spawned out of evil!" roared Satan. He approached the young girl and grabbed her by her hair. She screamed as He pulled her by her long hair then shoved her towards Noctivus. She landed on her hands and knees but made no move to get up. She merely sobbed and allowed her tears to continue to cascade down her face.
The Devil walked over to her. His hooves left scorch marks on the carpet and the fire around Him snarled and snapped like a vicious dog. He bent down next to her and pulled her head upwards so that she was forced to stare at Noctivus. The lesser demon couldn't bring himself to look away any longer. He raised his head sadly, silently begging for none of this to be real.
"Tell me now, is this the man you love?" hissed the Fiend.
Abigail whimpered and didn't say anything.
The monster tried again, "Is this the face of the man you love?! Is this the man you adore?! Is this the man you will treasure for always?! Is this him?! Is it?!"
"No!" Abigail sobbed, closing her eyes and turning her head away from Noctivus. The Devil was not satisfied yet. He turned her head back to face the disgusting creature that had remained unmoving on her carpeted floor.
"Do you love him?" snarled Satan, yanking on her hair.
Their eyes met. Abigail's lip quivered and her tears slid down her flushed cheeks, landing on the floor not two feet from where her lover was. She gasped, her throat was tight and burning from her sobs and her scalp feeling like it was being torn apart.
Noctivus, the demon from Hell, stared at the woman he loved and waited. His heart ached and he swallowed painfully. He knew what was coming. He could feel it in the pit of his stomach, a hollow aching that made him nauseous.
"Do you love him?" came the question for a second time. "Tell me!"
"No," Abigail sobbed. The Devil released her hair, allowing her to fall to the floor in a heap. Noctivus stared blankly at the young woman before raising his head to look at Satan who was now standing above them both.
"Now you see, Noctivus. Now, you see," hissed the villain, changing himself back into his human skin with ease.
Noctivus stared at the young girl before pushing himself up from the ground. He felt a burning rage, swelling until he thought that it couldn't be contained within his own flesh. He bared his teeth at the woman who had claimed to love him.
Satan grinned and stepped over to Noctivus, placing His hand on His servant's shoulder. Noctivus couldn't help but let out a low groan as his human skin appeared once more. He cracked his neck and turned to face the Dark One. His master nodded and looked down at the young woman.
"Demons cannot love. Love is for the weak and simple minded mortals...this one, however, is certain to burn. Perhaps, it would be best if she was taken care of now. As a demon, Noctivus, I would expect you to be able to handle this," hissed the Dark Master aside him.
Noctivus didn't even hesitate. He merely stepped towards the woman who had claimed to love him, the woman that had made him feel as if he were worth something, the woman who lied to him and kneeled down next to her.
His voice sounded unfamiliar even to his own ears as he whispered to her, "I know your name Abigail. I know who you are...I know what you are...and you will burn. You gave me your name and now I have your soul because of it. You think lying is no sin?" He sneered at this point, "Try lying to a demon." Saying that he grabbed her by her throat. He heard her whimper but he ignored the sound. The rage burning in his gut could not be extinguished and it seemed the decision had already been made for him. There was a crack and he let go of her neck in disgust. She was dead before she even hit the floor.
Noctivus heard a crackling in the air and he heard a chuckle from behind him. The room felt hot and stuffy, the lesser demon wished to be free. To wreak havoc upon the world once more. He had never felt more alive. There was no need for love. Not when one had the power that he possessed. He forgot all about Abigail, she was merely one more soul to fill the coffers of Hell.
"Come little demon. We have more souls to collect."