Inner Demons

     I examine my artwork in the pale moonlight. The painting seems to glow a
bright orange, radiant and bright. It depicts the scene in front of me, from just a few
hours ago. It’s so strange how in such little time, things can change so drastically.
My painting shows a bright yellow ball of light, sinking below the shining blue
ocean, which reflects the orange sky. Now the sun has completely set, and I’m
alone with the moon and the stars. Well, maybe not all alone. I hug the back wall
of the cliff, terrified of falling. I’ve been up on this mountain so many times. It’s
usually quiet up here, and has beautiful views on either side. One side faces my
village, which now probably has faint orange candles making it glow among the
trees. The side I’m on faces the seemingly endless expanse of water. I watch the
waves crash into the sharp rocks on the shore. I swallow. Despite how often I
come up here, I will always be afraid of slipping. Especially with Scarlet here. I
can’t see her, but I know she’s following me. She always is. I should probably
explain her.
                                                           ❂ ❂ ❂
    It all started the day after my mother died. She was a hunter, and a good one,
too. And I loved her so much. After she died, I was completely devastated. I would
do anything to bring her back. So, I asked around, and decided I was desperate. I
would try necromancy. That night was a full moon. I put on the darkest clothes I
could find, and in my attic, I drew a large circle in chalk. Carefully, I drew a star
and placed black candles on each point. I sat beside it and quietly uttered,
“Uhm…. I’m not sure how to do this. Mom, are you listening? I miss you. I’m too
young to take care of the house. You didn’t finish teaching me how to hunt, I--”
Tears fell down from my eyes, making my vision go blurry. “I need you, Mom. I
miss you.” Now I couldn’t see. Tears completely blocked my vision, and I shut my
eyes tight.
    “God, can you stop complaining?” My eyes flew open. This was definitely not
my mother. This was what looked like a young girl, around my age. But, she was
very clearly not human. Her skin was a pinkish red, and she had crimson horns
sticking up from her long black hair. Her eyes were all black, except for bright red
pupils, and her lips were black so that she always appeared to be wearing lipstick.
She hovered off the ground on leathery wings, which were gradient, starting black
and fading to red. She was wearing a black leather jacket and a short maroon
dress. She wore black thigh high socks, with tall heeled combat boots. She looked
very emo, and this is coming from someone who just summoned a demon. “Who
has summoned the almighty one?” she asked. When she opened her mouth, I
noticed that her teeth were pinkish and her canines were long fangs. Her tongue
was bright red and forked like a snake’s.
    “Uhh, m-my name is A-angelica,” I stammered.
    “Scarlet. I’d say it’s a pleasure to meet you, but that would be a lie. Why did
you summon me?” she asked flatly.
    “A-actually, I was t-trying to summon my m-mom,” I told her.
    “Well too fuckin’ bad you got me instead,” she said. She landed and folded her
wings in. They blended in with her jacket. She paced around me, examining me. I
pulled off the hood on my mother’s black sweatshirt. The sweatshirt was all black
except a small white design in the center. The design showed a winged circle
above three triangles. My mother told me the triangles represented us, and the
circle represented an angel. The sweatshirt was too big and the sleeves flopped
down past my hands. I smoothed down my long dark brown hair and stared at the
demon. She stared back. Uncomfortable, I looked away.
    “So, you’re a demon? Like, from hell? Why did I get you instead of my mom?”
    Scarlet rolled her eyes. “That isn’t how it works, hun. Once she’s dead, she’s
dead. Making a pentagram just summons a random demon. Seriously, did you not
look into this before doing a ritual?”
    “I--” She was right, I had no idea what I was doing. I just tried something
demonic and hoped it worked.
    “Well, too bad. You’re stuck with me, bitch.”
                                                             ❂ ❂ ❂
    And I am. I’ve been stuck with her for a year now. She follows me everywhere I
go. It’s kind of creepy. Right on cue, she shows herself.
    “Hey Angel. Whatcha painting?” Scarlet flies down from the sky and takes the
painting from me.
    “Hey!” I try to snatch it back, but she holds it just above my reach. Even without
flying, she’s taller than me.
    “Ooh! Fancy!” she says, examining the painting.
    “Hey! Give it back! And don’t call me Angel,” I whine. She giggles.
    “It’s fun watching you struggle,” she tells me. “Angel,” she adds, just to make
me angry. It works. I pull the painting back and inch around to a safer part of the
mountain. I do not trust her not to push me off. Or throw the painting off. Now in a
bad mood, I make my way down the mountain, back to the village. People stare at
me sympathetically as I walk through the town. I can almost hear their hushed
conversations.
    Poor girl. Only 16 and all alone.
    She needs a man to live with her.
    My grandson is around her age. Maybe he can help her.
    That’s what they always say when they think I can’t hear. That I need help.
Trying to ignore everything, I take a deep breath. I just need a positive mental
attitude. I enter my house, leaving the nosy villagers and negativity behind. I can
feel Scarlet watching me as I eat dinner.
    “I know you’re there,” I say, tired. She shows herself.
    “Guess there’s no point in hiding then,” she says, sitting down across from me
at the table.
    “What do you want? Food? Water? Do you just want to watch me suffer?” I ask
her.
    “You drink water, I drink anarchy. No.” she pauses. “Okay yes, I enjoy
watching you suffer.” She puts elbow on the table and leans her head on her
hand. “I feed off suffering”
    “Really?”
    “No. I just like it.”
    I groan and she laughs. “I’m going to sleep,” I tell her, walking away to my room.
    “Night, Angelica!” she waves after me. “I hope you have horrible nightmares!”
she calls enthusiastically.
    I slam my door shut and crawl into bed. I had been so tired, but as soon as I lay
down, I suddenly was wide awake. I turn in my bed. Through the window, I see the
moon reflecting against the mountains. I whisper to myself, “It’s going to be all
right. Everything’s gonna be fine.” I close my eyes and fall asleep.

    I wake up to Scarlet grinning at me, sitting on my bed.
    “Ahh!” I scream and push her.
    “Morning.”
    “Get off my bed!” I scream.
    “I like scaring you,” she said.
    “Yes, I know that!” I scream, shoving past her. I put on my hoodie and grab a
loaf of bread. It’s dawn, I’m never awake this early. Everything’s quiet as I make
my way up the mountain. The only sounds are the wind in the trees and my quiet
breathing as I climb further up. I reach a small platform in the face of the mountain,
facing towards the ocean and away from my problems. I bite my cheek as I swing
my legs over the side, watching the waves crash against the shore. The ledge is
small enough that I can press my back against the cliff face and dangle my legs
over the side at the same time. I sit listening to the waves, eating the bread without
cutting it. Sleepily, my eyes close slightly.
    “Hey Angel,” her voice startles me. I drop the bread off the cliff and instinctively
lean forward to catch it. I lose my balance and slide off the ledge. “Oh Shit!” I hear
Scarlet say distantly.
    This isn’t happening I think, feeling my stomach drop. I squeeze my eyes tight.
And suddenly I’m not falling. Did I wake up? I think. But when I open my eyes, I’m
suspended in the air. The only thing I can see is Scarlet’s face, and her wings
block out the sun.
    “You.... caught me?” I ask.
    She looks down at me. “Wow. Have some faith in me,” she says, offended.
    “I thought you wanted me dead,” I tell her, still confused.
    “I don’t want you dead, idiot. I love you.”
    “You’ve been tormenting me for a year!”
    “Yeah, because I like you, duh,” she says like it’s obvious.
    “I-- I don’t think that’s how love works,”
    “Well fine. I’ll drop you then,” she says and loosens her grip around me.
    “Hey!” I squeak, grabbing her waist. She laughs and lands me on a wide ledge.
Now safe, I look at her. “Do you seriously like me? Oh my god, that’s so
embarrassing! You’re supposed to be all cool and tough and you like me!” Finally,
I have something on her. She’s been annoyingly perfect for all the time I’ve known
her. She glares at me and I grin back. I look her in the eyes.
    “Do you want to… go kill some homophobes… together?” I ask.
    She smiles down at me. “It’s a date.”

~end~
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