A demon’s only way to joy is through the suffering of others.
A firm stomach, broad shoulders, slender hands; thick curly hair. A mouth to die for. And dark eyes screaming »trouble« all over the place.
He was handsome – measured by human ideals of beauty.
It didn’t matter to him as long as it suited his prey’s preferences.
He’d shapeshifted so much over the centuries, he eventually forgot his own appearance. (Anyway, a demon’s true form would just scare humans away. So he was fine with that.)
Seducing women nowadays was getting harder – with television news broadcast and internet dating cautionary tales out there – so he specialized in teenage girls. They were easily mislead, looking for a little adventure, a little rebellion against their parents’ strict rules, a little disobedience here and there. At a certain age, dangerous things just turned them on. And he was a dangerous thing. Stupid girls., they’ll never learn.
He was the new guy at school every fall term.
Always making sure the girls saw him arriving, striding into the place like he owned it. He was good at playing »bad boy«. An attitude, irresistible for girls a certain age.
Trying to draw their attention to him was always effortless.
But finding the right prey was difficult.
This delicate mix of pain and sorrow, darkness and despair, this hateful abyss filled with tears and toped off with a pinch of useless hope thrown in for his amusement.
Even for a demon, his taste in souls was peculiar.
He just intended to take her soul. Get over with it quickly and move on. He was already starving.
She was beautiful, judging by the way everyone looked at her. And she wasn’t even in the cheerleader team. Huge blue eyes, clear as a summer sky, blonde hair the colour of wheat, nice legs – boring beauty that otherwise wouldn’t have thrilled a demon, if he’d been really looking for a mate. But he did not care about beauty, he had only use for her soul. Which was more beautiful than its shell.
He’d seen a glimpse of it in her eyes the day before and the promise of it made his mouth water and his not-existing heart skip a beat.
That was before he’d seen her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend looked at him, while he was talking to the girl, with the same huge hunger caught in his eyes, matching a demon’s greed.
Seeing the demon watching him watching the demon, the boy averted his eyes. Not fast enough before the demon caught sight of lust filling those eyes. Along with shame. How intriguing.
This was a soul worth hunting.
Despite his growing hunger, he decided to play with his food for a little while longer.
The next time they met alone, he tried to caught the boy’s gaze on purpose.
He smiled is best smile. The smile of an predator. All sharp edges coated with honey. Filling his voice with sweetness to hide the blade lurking beneath. Carefully, he set his trap.
He caught the boy in a web of silk-soft whispered secrets during detention, of hands touching a moment too long in chemistry class, and finally, behind the gym, of threads woven with a shy and tender kiss on the corner of that boy’s mouth.
Eventually, he got carried away.
He should have been aiming straight for the kill.
The demon realized his mistake too late.
The afternoon the trap was about to close was cold but sunny December day, with ice thawing and dripping from branches above the football field, where they met.
It was no bees-in-stomach-kiss-on-cheek. This was a full-blown-firworks-in-the-sky kind of kiss. No tongue. Yet.
He’d intended to make that boy miserable, stoking his pain up, by playing with his feelings, and breaking his little heart like he’d done so many times before. The more despaired the better tastes a soul.
But in the moment their lips fully connected, the boy’s soul lit up. Sparkling and shining like a damn ferris wheel. The demon, at the same time, trying to lick it, nearly choked. It was so disgustingly white and pure and filled with almost unbearable joy.
All that precious darkness was melting away and the demon couldn’t hold on to it.
And so a sweet soul turned sour.
They broke apart, both panting, and the demon looked him in the eyes, searching. Maybe he could still save something. There was no guilt, no shame, no despair, no dark gloomy thoughts. Nothing.
Instead of being broken and full of self-hate, this kid was irritably happy. The boy didn’t seem to break under the realization of his heart’s true desire.
In an despairingly attempt to find at least a little piece of that delicious darkness again, somewhere, deep down in the boy’s soul – or maybe to bring it back, he wasn’t so sure about that, the demon said, letting the mask fall and soaking his voice in cruelty:
»You know, we can’t be together. I’m not a fag like you. I’m just fulfilling a dare from the football captain to get on the team. Seems like I won.«
»I should have known that,« the boy replied, his eyes finally showing a hint of liquid. »It was to good to be true. This was a once-and-never-again-kiss. I know that. Nonetheless I’m grateful.«
»You are not hurt?« the demon asked, puzzled.
»Of course I’m hurt! You’ve set me up.«
A wave of pain, following the words, flowed from boy to demon. He savoured it. He was so hungry, he nearly thought about ripping out a sour soul of its useless shell.
The boy spoke in a rush. »I’m grateful, because this one kiss was all I was aiming for… All I was hoping for… In all those years I’ve doubted myself… Now I know where I belong. Even if my way will be difficult and filled with tears and hateful comments and pain and sorrow… At the end there will be love. For one split second, I’ve tasted home, I’ve tasted heaven and that can’t be undone by anyone. And the memory of that first true kiss – even if you spoiled the after – will bring me through high school. It will be enough. It has to be enough.«
The demon recoiled at the word »heaven«.
It was pretty much clear to him now, that he overestimated his skills. Or maybe underestimated his prey.
In the darkest of all places, despite everything, there was a spark of hope coming alive in that boy. And it was this spark of hope that would save him from his own darkness. Unintentionally the demon had kindled this spark into a little flame.
Silently, he cursed his own stupidity.
That soul was definitely lost to him now.
Maybe the other demons were right:
He should change his taste in souls.
*** The End ***