#1889

“Tell me where he is!”

“No,”

The fist breaks Daren’s nose this time and smashes the back of his head against the pavement once more. Through the blood streaming down his lips, he smiles up at his interrogator. The man swears impatiently and pulls a hunting knife from his belt.

“Tell me where he is or I’ll gut you,”

“No,”

Daren clenches his teeth as the knife plunges into his stomach, but his smile remains.

“Daren! Daren, wake up… Jonathan, hurry!”

He is still alive when Tanim finds him, but barely. Tanim’s voice rouses him from near-unconsciousness and he offers a paler, much more pained smile to his lover.

“Good, you made it,”

“Only thanks to you. Daren, I told you not to do that! You promised, you said–”

“I lied. What did you expect?”

Daren laughs, not unkindly, at the expression of sorrow and horror on Tanim’s face; the laugh turns into a wet cough, blood bubbling at the corners of his mouth. Tanim has one hand pressed to the knife wound, but even he knows it’s futile. Tanim bows his head.

“I won’t forgive you for this,”

“I didn’t apologize for it,”

By the time Jonathan arrives with the medical supplies, it is too late to do any good.

#1886

Tanim wonders, chasing the fleeting shadow down the long hallway, if Daren even knows where he’s going. The asylum is a multi-floored compound of brightly lit hallways that to the unfamiliar eye all look the same. Can Daren have any idea where the front doors are, when patients are kept shut away so deep within the maze? And even if he does still remember the way out, how will he get past the locked doors on each level and the employees who guard them? Surely he knows escape is impossible. Mad Daren might be, but he isn’t stupid.

Rounding a corner just as Daren flies through an unlocked door and into the stairwell beyond, Tanim stumbles to a stop and stands gasping for breath. He never imagined Daren could run so fast; though then again, he’s never had cause to chase after him, at least not literally. He gives himself a few seconds to catch his breath and check for security guards – none are following as of yet – then resumes the chase. Up two flights of stairs, back into an identical hallway, through countless turns and turnarounds he follows Daren, who remains always a dark figure vanishing around a far corner.

Finally, Tanim turns and finds himself facing a dead-end hallway just as one of its doors slams shut. Straining to calm his racing heart and aching lungs, he begins checking the handles of each door. Most are locked; given the burned out fluorescent bulb in the ceiling, this particular section of the asylum seems to be rarely in use. The doors on the right side of the hall are all locked. On the left side, Tanim meets locked door after locked door until he is almost to the end. The second-to-last handle moves under his hand and he hesitates, certain Daren is inside but uncertain of what the man might do when cornered.

Tanim pulls the door open slowly, expecting perhaps for Daren to rush him and continue his unpredictable flight, but nothing happens. The smell of blood hits him instead, and he pushes the door open wider to let in the hallway’s feeble light. It falls over Daren where he kneels in the shadows, glistening as it strikes the blood coating the man’s face and trickling in a steady waterfall down his neck, shoulder, and chest. In his hands he grips an open pair of scissors, their blades covered in blood; it is these, it seems, which he has used to make the oozing lacerations which crisscross his shaved head.

“I was trying to fix it,” Daren explains, his voice and eyes eerily calm. Tanim tries to speak but finds he has no words. Instead, he kneels down and gently lays his hands over Daren’s bloody fingers to extricate the scissors.

#1878

Conversely, there are rare times when he craves confinement, when nothing but the tightest, darkest space can contain the rising hysteria. Thus morning finds him in the unlit bathroom, hunched over on his knees between sink and toilet, hands pressed to his temples as if physically holding in his sanity. It doesn’t make sense for someone like him, who so fiercely guards his freedom and must always have an escape, and yet it does. Even the most crazed, feral beast recalls the safety of the den, even if that instinct is buried beneath years of madness. Like an animal knows to go to ground when injured, so he seeks a place to hide himself away when at his most vulnerable. If he cannot run, if he cannot fight, then he must have somewhere to hide where nothing can possibly reach him.

#1877

Your hunger astounds me, specter. Does it surprise you as well? In my dreams your hunger is bottomless, boundless, a trembling, ravenous craving, a wild thing which can neither be contained nor restrained. With mouth and hands and body you devour him, but no matter how many times you make him yours, it is never enough. You are never sated. You who want nothing, you who need no one, consume him with a desperation that betrays you. Does it frighten you, to learn of what you are capable? Your lover carries shame and guilt in equal burdens, but in you the hunger leaves no room for any other emotion or thought; instinct, the need to covet, to possess, supersedes all else. Worry not, dear ghost. You fear such desire makes you human, but in reality you are still the feral beast dominating and taking what is his.

#1854

In my dream you were the radiant Morning Star, the serpent-tongued Prince of Darkness. The realm you commanded was a thing of beauty, elegance wed with malice, such exquisite torture meted out to the dammed as made even the other fallen shrink in your presence. Yet there was one to whom even you bowed, who made your extinguished heart constrict as nothing else. Who was he, whom you called Lucifer and touched with such love and gentleness? He was hurt, I recall, or sick, somehow grievously injured (from that first and greatest fall, perhaps?), and under your protection. Those who crossed you, who slighted or harmed him in any way, brought punishment down upon the entire host; you spared none when it came to your beloved. And oh, the hunger, the fierce desire between you! All the fires of Hell could have been stoked high and hot from one kiss, one touch. For two thousand years you ruled uncontested in a realm where fallen and dammed alike knelt in your presence. For two thousand years you knelt only to him whom you cherished above all else.

In my dreams of late you’ve wings and a terrible angelic beauty that shines amid ashes. What are you two trying to show me? Who are you? What are you?

#1850

Demons don’t have hearts, technically, but we can still love. I love the taste of fresh blood. I love a long, challenging hunt. I love all the ways humans invent to hurt themselves without our help. But most of all, I love Noah. You might think it’d be forbidden for a demon to fall in love with a human, but it happens all the time; as long as you stick to the rules, no one down below really cares. Himself’s not exactly a stickler about these sorts of things. Free will and all of that.

Here is what I love about Noah. I love how much darkness and rage he contains inside his fragile human form. I love how he takes control when we fuck, which is often and everywhere. I love how when he learned what I am, he bared his teeth in a hungry, feral smile I’ve never seen before and asked me what it’s like to kill. I love his arrogance and his cruelty. I love his intensity and patience. I love his fearlessness in the face of certain death and eternal damnation.

I don’t mind playing the high school bad boy; I’d take just about any form to watch Noah enact his grand plan. The roles suit us, anyway, me the dangerous rake everyone secretly envies and he the silent, brooding loner they all detest. After, the survivors will say they always knew he was strange, creepy, a little off, but right now they suspect nothing. I watch him go about his preparations with ease, no teachers noticing his absence from class, no students or administration catching him in places he shouldn’t be. Humans are so stupid.

I find a good vantage point near the main doors. When the final bell rings at the end of the day, I can hear classroom doors opening all around the building and students streaming into the hallways. That’s when the bombs go off, three simultaneous explosions that rock the very air. Suddenly I’m surrounded by shrieking students running in all directions, their panic causing more chaos than Noah’s detonations. The bombs serve to herd everyone toward the main doors, and as they crush each other in their desperation, the gunshots begin. Taller as I am than any of the kids, I easily spot Noah as he wades effortlessly into the crowd, picking off students one by one like he does this every day. Soon he’s surrounded by a ring of limp bodies, and fuck if he isn’t the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, his face expressionless, his hand steady and swift as he chooses targets.

It must seem like forever to the humans before police arrive, their flashing, wailing vehicles forming a barrier around the entrance. By now everyone has either escaped or fallen to Noah’s bullets, and in the sudden calm he turns and favors me with the smallest of smiles. If I did have a heart, it’d probably burst; instead, I resist the urge to kneel down before him and show him just how proud I am. But there will be time for that later, an eternity of it, and for now I only nod in approval and come to stand at his side. Together we step over the bodies of his victims and walk through the shattered glass doors.

“Drop your weapon!” someone yells through a megaphone, a dozen officers crouched behind SWAT shields with their guns trained on Noah. He offers them a very different smile and lazily raises his gun. I don’t count the shots fired; six pierce my lover, shredding internal organs but nothing so vital that he dies immediately. I catch him as he falls, one hand flung out to freeze time. I will have this final moment with him, before we meet again in that other place.

“So?” Noah coughs, blood bubbling in his mouth, obscuring the subtle smile on his beautiful lips. Cradling him close, I run my fingers through his pale hair and grin, letting my fangs show. “You did wonderfully, my dear. Any demon would be proud to have accomplished such a thing. Himself will be very impressed, I know it. He’ll make you one of us.”

“Good,” Noah’s eyes shine, partly from the praise and partly from the pain. “So…” his breathing has become labored, his body heavier as his muscles give up, “I’ll see you… down there… soon?”

“Yes, love,” I kiss him one last time in this mortal form, savoring the sweetness of his blood, and lay him gently down to rest on the concrete. “I will find you.”