The one who summoned me this time is young, just a child really, though I can sense a weariness to his soul which makes him seem far older. It takes only one glance into his defiant black eyes to understand why he has called me to his plane. I see the past he barely recalls already: the whorish mother, anonymous father, physical and emotional neglect. I see the present he wishes desperately to forget: the foster father who ravages him, the system which turns a blind eye out of necessity, the hopelessness which drove him to draw the chalk circle and call one of my kind. I see the future he can’t predict but must, somewhere deep inside, already expect: the homes and institutions he will bounce to and from, the years he will spend struggling to survive despite the physical and mental scars, the disease which slumbers even now in his cells and will one day awake to rot him from the inside out. I see him choking on his own blood as the fever finally burns the life from him. I see it all and it… hurts.

I don’t need to ask why the boy summoned me, yet I do anyway. I want him to speak the words aloud. Those hard eyes narrow as he hisses through split lips, “I want you to kill him,” and I nod. I will do this thing. I will extinguish this one source of agony, free him for a time at least. The cost of a life is high but I will not ask my normal price. Instead I will bid this damaged, aching boy to break the circle and set me free. In return for the taking of one life I will ask him to let me remain in this world at his side. I cannot prevent the thing growing in his body from killing him – a demon can only destroy, after all, never heal – but at least I can protect him from all the rest for a time.


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