[A/N: I wrote this a few years ago, for a writing contest, and thought that it finally deserved to see the light of day. Originally a prologue of sorts for one of my stories that used to live on this site, I still think it works quite well as a stand-alone short. I hope you all enjoy it.]
I sat on the porch looking down the length of the yard. The sun began to creep downwards, slowly sinking into the horizon.
I cleared my throat.
Just as I was about to open my mouth, a sharp voice from behind me cut through the silence with the precision of a whip. "Don't you dare."
Turning around, I saw him through the door that led into the kitchen. He stood next to the counter top, pouring himself a beer that he'd obviously taken from the fridge. I cocked my head slightly before rising to my feet and trotting through the back door.
Looking up at him, I felt almost as if he was judging me.
Bringing my line of sight back to where it should be, I eyed his shoes. They would be my target later.
Almost as if sensing my intent, he said: "If you even go near my shoes tonight, you're sleeping in the yard tomorrow."
It was at times like these that I regretted coming back as a dog.
Let me explain.
My situation is less than typical, even for a demon. Though a lot of people would say I deserve it. The nerve. I'm not that different from everyone else. We all started off as human at some point; demons, I mean.
When we sin, if we don't cleanse ourselves, we go to hell when we die. That's pretty standard.
What they don't tell you is what happens after that. The torture is what everyone expects it to be. It's horrible, but not without irony. The gluttonous are consumed over and over, the slothful are made to endure back-breaking labour. It's quite a fair system.
The real hell isn't the torture, though. The real hell is becoming what I am. A demon.
Hell is forgetting.
Forgetting who you were. Your name, your job, your family, your friends. Even forgetting what it feels like to be human. You endure hell long enough and all that's left is the memory of hell. You know you used to have a life; you know you used to exist. And I suppose that makes it worse. Knowing that you had something, but being resigned to the fact that no matter how much you want it you'll never get it back.
And by that point you're a demon.
Now I know you're thinking: how did I get from hell and damnation to coming back as a dog? And that is a very good question.
After accepting all things demonic as a way of life, you're given a role. Usually something like general mischief making and all that jazz. A desk job. You and a bunch of your colleagues orchestrate things.
Lets say, for example, Bob the accountant is on his way to a date. Next to the sidewalk there's a large puddle. The boys in the office tweak fortune so that a truck drives through it. Sorry Bob, no poontang for you tonight. You're getting something wet, but not what you'd hoped. I like that. Nothing too severe, but still fun to watch.
Then a step up from there is the natural disasters guys. That stuff has never really been my style. I mean I know it's part of the job description, but I don't really buy into all that killing crap. For one, the more of them that end up down here, the more difficult climbing that executive ladder becomes. Then there's the fact that, despite being a demon, I still feel pain (it comes with the torture after all), and I personally wouldn't wish that on anyone.
Above them is the instigators. These are the guys that everyone thinks of when you mention demons. They're the ones who prompt that one world leader to push that pretty red button, or convince that one guy that he's Jesus and needs to shoot up a school.
Basically they're assholes, and I try to avoid them if and when at all possible.
Finally, right at the top of the career ladder, you get the PAs. Personal Assistants. This is what I am.
While the other departments affectionately refer to us as "Brown-Tongues", I quite like my job. I don't have to kill anyone, nor cause massive inconvenience worldwide. All I do is run errands for the top-tier guys.
The top tier guys aren't demons, they're just the ones who run things. Fallen Angels who sided with the Morning Star in the war. They're called the Grigori (Watchers). Guess what they do.
And I work for them. Anything they want, I provide.
Which is why I'm inside Fido here right now.
Every so often a Grigori will fuck up and have a child with a human. When that child is born, someone needs to keep an eye on it. Nephilim, in many respects, are more powerful than the angel that birthed them, so they need a guiding hand to keep them under control.
This is where it gets difficult.
Grigori can't inhabit the mortal world for long periods of time; and truth told, not an awful lot of them want to. Demons, being souls, can't manifest physically. So what we're left with is possession.
That's a lot easier in theory than in practice. These meat sacks aren't built with a passenger seat, so either you need to evict the current occupant or find one that's destitute. I prefer the latter.
Unfortunately, the town this guy I'm keeping an eye on lives in is so small that they're bound to notice Jeff from Walmart walking around, despite having topped it two days ago.
So I'm in a dog.
Thrilling isn't it?
I mean, it's not so bad. Being a dog has its perks. I'm supposed to be looking after this guy, but at the end of the day he's the one that's looking after me. I get fed, watered, a bed to sleep in. Hell, I even get to shit wherever I want.
Well not so much that last one anymore; he blasted me with the hose the last time I did it, so I'm rethinking my plan of action next time.
It's not all high points though. The other day, the spaniel next door tried to get fresh with me. You may be laughing to yourself right now, but just imagine if someone twice your size came up behind you and started humping.
"Ever since you came into my life, you've been nothing but a problem," David said, dropping the beer bottle into the trash and walking from the kitchen to the living room. "I've told them I don't need someone constantly checking up on me."
Following close behind his heels, I felt the tiles replaced by carpet beneath my paws. "Hey, it's not my fault. Orders are orders."
"Orders are a pain in my ass."
David doesn't lend much sympathy to my predicament. As far as he's concerned, I'm a nuisance.
He doesn't much like his father, the Grigori Samael. Honestly I don't blame him. The fallen angel is always making requests from him, despite not being involved in his life before David turned eighteen. If I had a father like that, I would be more than a little bitter.
In a perfect world, I would have just ignored Samael's order to watch his son. However, Samael is someone that you ignore at your own peril.
Unless you're David, that is.
I admire that about him. Of course, I would never say it to his face. Our relationship is best left as it is. We express disdain for each other, but deep down there's respect there; though I doubt he would ever acknowledge it himself.
"Are you going to do anything, or just sit there glaring at me?" David asked, glancing down out of the corner of his eye and pulling back his top lip.
"I was kinda hoping for a beer, too," I replied, laying down on the floor, my legs spread out.
"That would kill you," he said bluntly.
"That's chocolate," I corrected.
"Do you want some chocolate?" he asked, in his usual deadpan fashion.
"I think I'm gonna pass on that."
"I should be mixing it in with your food after what you pulled this morning," David snipped, a hint of annoyance in the undertones of his voice.
I feigned ignorance. "No idea what you're talking about."
"Oh, do you want me to remind you?"
"Fire away skipper."
"You chased that boy for 2 blocks."
"I was protecting the house."
"He came up onto the porch."
"He's the paper boy! He's there every day!"
"Luring you into a false sense of security. You're lucky to have me around."
"Are you even listening to yourself?" David said, with disbelief. "For Christ sake, I dated his Mom, you stupid dog."
"So you have a thing for MILFs?" I asked, crudely. If dogs could raise eyebrows, one of mine certainly would have been.
"I'm not even going to justify that with a response," he replied, taking a sip of his beer and returning his attention to the television.
I sat in silence for a few minutes, reading the situation. Despite how annoyed he sounded, I could see that he was at ease. A smirk was playing against the corner of his mouth.
"You given any more thought about what I said about your father?" I asked.
"Yes, and the answer is still no." David's mood had darkened. He certainly wasn't at-ease anymore.
"You can't ignore him forever."
"I can give it a damn good try." Again, he sipped his beer. "If I could live the rest of my life having never heard from him again, I would die a happy man."
In a way, I almost felt sorry for him. I had no memory of what having a family was like; yet I knew that the way his father treated him wasn't right.
I mulled on this thought for close to half an hour; all the time watching him. Since the subject of his father came up, he had been listless; distressed.
"Hey," I said, suddenly. I padded towards him.
"What?" he asked, looking down at me from his chair.
I didn't say anything. Instead, I nuzzled my head into his leg.
David broke into a slight smile, before reaching down to pet me on the top of the head. "You stupid dog..."