"C'mon, do it!"
"Are you sure about this, man? I don't think this is a good idea."
"Just shut up and say it with me!"
"luos diputs ym lles ot hsiw yldiputs i!"
As Harry reluctantly read out the strange words from the grimoire, with Pete glaring at him, he expected little to happen.
They had found the book while out trashing mailboxes, a leather-bound text with words that neither understood…though Pete claimed he could read it.
A wish, he said the book offered, though apparently Pete could read little else. While that was good enough for his friend, the book secretly frightened Harry.
"Look, man, let's just get rid of this stupid book—" However, as he tried to press the subject, a loud booming sound emanated from the tome, silencing the two delinquents as they stood on the street.
"What the h-hell?" He muttered, looking around fearfully. It was late evening, but Harry didn't remember fog being around them. It blanketed the old traffic intersection in a thick veil, blinding them to all but each other.
"I'm telling you, dude. Free fucking wishes." Pete grinned, laughing as he shoved Harry.
The sound of chains echoed from behind as they stood in silence, and Harry turned around, shivering as he saw the shape in the mist. Tall and thin, the figure was draped in a ragged black robe, and carried an ornate black lantern in their hand, with a tall walking staff in the other. Atop their head was the ruinous skull of a ram, with its horns curving downwards and its eye sockets filled with blazing purple fire.
Regarding the pair, the ram-headed demon stood before them in silence, until a tired voice came from the skull.
"Are you serious?" The demon complained in a feminine, yet distorted and demonic, voice, glaring at the two, particularly at the book Pete was holding. "It's 10pm. Nighttime. Most people, including me, are asleep by now. I mean, who the hell reads a creepy looking book like that at *10pm*?"
Pete and Harry were silent, locked in dumbfounded shock as she muttered to herself in a burnt out, sleepy fashion.
"Hey! Where's my wish, freak?" Pete finally spoke up, angrily approaching her with a scowl and his fists balled up.
She paused, and stared down at the younger boy silently, as if amazed by his impudence.
"Do I look like a genie? I don't do wishes, kid." She answered irritably, jabbing her staff towards the book. "Learn some Veilspeak once in a while. You can't just take like…one word out of a book and expect it to be the whole plot."
"W-What do you do, then?" Harry spoke up nervously, and the demon regarded him.
"I do deals, kid. And please don't piss yourself, I *really* don't need that imagery in my head, it's been a shitty enough day." She groaned, letting go of her staff to rub her hand against her skull in frustration. Harry noticed that the staff remained upright, unaffected at all by gravity.
"Deals? Like you give me stuff?"
"Something like that, yeah. It's more like a trade—"
"I want to have superpowers!" Before she could even finish her sentence, Pete had interrupted her, a crazed smile on his face.
"Pete! We don't know what she's talking about—!" Harry tried to intervene, but he was merely shoved away.
"Shut up! I found the book, so it's my wish!"
"I already said, kid, it's not a wish, it's a—"
"I said I want superpowers! That's what I'm asking for!" Pete demanded, and the demon bristled with annoyance. If Harry wasn't so terrified of what she would do, he could swear that she'd risen her arm, as if to impatiently check a watch that he couldn't see.
"…Fine. You want powers? Sure. I can do that for ya." A different tone to her voice, she rose her hand, and a scroll was forged from the shadows of her cloak. "All you have to do is sign this."
Harry saw little of it, but quickly realized it was written in that unintelligible language the book was made up of.
"Pete!" He pleaded, but his friend ignored him, eagerly taking the quill she provided.
"Yup. Right there." The demon seemed happy as he scribbled his name upon the scroll, and it disappeared in a puff of smoke after she rolled it up.
"Where are my powers?" Pete asked.
"Soon as I'm gone, you'll get exactly what you deserve, kiddo. Enjoy." With a wave, she departed, shuffling away into the fog and disappearing. Harry felt a sense of dread as the fog began to fade, but said nothing as they found themselves on the same intersection.
"Harry! Look!" Turning around, Harry gasped in awe. Pete was floating in front of him, suspended above the ground as if it were from a comic book, like the ones that he once read as a younger child.
"W-Whoa…that's…that's…" He watched in shock as Pete floated about, laughing and chortling. The two of them were so enthralled by his flight, so excited and in awe, that neither noticed the semi-truck, loaded down with a tank of gasoline, travelling at least twenty miles above the speed limit, rushing towards the intersection.
"I know, right? I'm just like a superhe—"