Explanation: I LOVE dark things! I grew up on TV shows about demons and vampires and still watch those, along with series killer shows and documentaries. So my writing tend to lean towards the dark side, but I also try to put some humor in there as well. This has been my project for the past six months and I’m about 200 pages in. I thought I’d post the first two chapters and see what others thought. So, first chapter this and and the second is next week. Enjoy a look into my daily imaginings.
I wish I could say that I had an empty bladder when the elevator stopped between floors. That would have been helpful; but as it was I had just gotten back from lunch and had gotten a large strawberry lemonade with my falafel pita sandwich. I was also going to be late getting back to my desk. I considered the help button, but thought back to all the horror stories of people being stuck for hours and thought of a better option. I pulled out my cell phone, pulled up Freddy’s contact, dialed him and leaned against the wall. “Kristen,” he answered joyfully. “How lovely to hear your voice! Do you realize I haven’t seen you in over a week? This really needs to change.”
“Well,” I drawled. “We could fix that now with you getting me out of a jam.” There was silence on the other end. “Freddy?”
“What do you need Kristen.” Gone was the happy Freddy and now he just sounded tired. I felt a twinge of guilt, but quickly got over it. He owed me.
“I’m stuck in the elevator at work and I really need to go to the bathroom,” I explained. “If I have to stay here for longer than ten minutes something bad is gonna happen and the guys monitoring the security camera will have a good laugh.” Freddy sighed on the other end.
“You know, I am not some dog that comes at your beck and call. I might be doing something really important.”
“But you’re not or you wouldn’t have answered the phone. Please Freddy?” I only whined a little, but it was enough to win him over.
“The middle one.” Then suddenly, as if I’d blinked, he was in front of me. He was wearing dark skinny jeans and a pink tank top with ankle high boots to give him a little bit more height. His red hair was long and tousled, looking professionally styled, and his green eyes blazed. He might have been a little put out but he gave me a true smile.
“Kris!” He pulled me in for a hug and as he squeezed I felt my bladder protest. He let go and looked me over. “What are you wearing? This is so drab!” I was just in my work clothes, gray slack and a floral blouse. I had thought I looked acceptable.
“Now is not the time to discuss,” I said, squirming. “Did you remember to do the cameras this time?” He looked mildly offended. “Last time you came to my rescue it caused quite a stir.”
“The guards think you got off the elevator,” he said, crossing his arms. “I was very thorough.” He did work quickly and accurately, except for a few times when he was distracted., but he didn’t like to talk about those times.
“Great. Could you teleport me to the lady’s room before I die?” He rolled his eyes, as if I were the dramatic one, placed a hand on my shoulder and suddenly we were in a bathroom stall. “Freddy,” I hissed in a hushed tone. “Not in the stall!”
“You don’t have to whisper,” he said as he leaned against the closed stall door. “No one is in here.”
“You could have just dropped me off,” I hissed. “What if one of my coworkers comes in?”
“I’m not leaving till you promise to come out tonight.” He brought a hand to his face and examined his nails. “I have been neglected as a best friend and that is unacceptable.” My bladder yelled and me and I crossed my legs.
“I have my brother’s birthday party tonight, you know that!”
“We’ll go out after. I’m flexible. And it is a Friday night, so don’t tell me that you don’t want to stay out late. We are going to a club and you’ll agree unless you want to have an accident at work. And I will not go and bring you new panties and slacks.”
I groaned. “Fine! I’ll go out with you tonight! Now get out so I can pee!” He grinned , kissed my forehead, and vanished. I practically ripped my pants from my body and crashed down onto the toilet seat. The relief was instantaneous. I sat there and sighed. It wasn’t that I was avoiding Freddy. He was a fun friend to have and more interesting than anyone else in my life. But sometimes he was a handful. He had been since the beginning.
I’d gone to a club, not something I did back a year ago. I was only twenty two and some of my high school friends had gotten together to party. I’d tagged along because I was starting to feel antisocial.I regretted it as soon as I was there. The music was loud, the place was crowded, and it smelled like sweat, booze, and smoke. I faked enthusiasm, had a few drinks and followed my friends to the dance floor. I got bumped around in the crowd, people stepped on my feet and guys got way too close for comfort. After a few songs I excused myself and went out front for some air. Los Angeles wasn’t exactly the safest place at night but there were still so many people around that I left the front of the club and leaned against a wall in the alley.
Just as I caught my breath I heard a clatter to my right. I froze, listened hard, and could make out heavy breathing. There was a dumpster between me and whatever was making the sound and I was about to hightail it outta there when I heard quiet sobbing. Curiosity and a tender heart, two things my parents warned would get me in trouble someday, lead me around the dumpster. He was on the ground, his back against the dumpster, limp and crying. He looked like some fallen fairy in gold pleather pants and a shiny long sleeves pirate looking shirt tucked in to show off his flat stomach.
“Are you alright,” I asked, not going too close. He stopped crying and stared up at me with wide eyes. “Do you need me to call 911?” He sniffed loudly and rubbed at his cheeks. It looked like it took a huge amount of effort to lift his arms.
“No,” he said softly. “No hospitals.” He looked as weak as a newborn kitten so I felt pretty sure I could defend myself against him. I crept closer and knelt by his side.
“I’m Kristen. Maybe a hospital would be a good idea. Are you hurt?” He gave me a watery smile.
“In a way. But you could help me.” I highly doubted that. I wasn’t a nurse and fainted at the sight of blood.
“What’s your name?”
“Freddy. Can you do me a favor Kristen? It could be the difference between life and death. I need something, something you won’t even miss.” I scooted a little away. “I won’t hurt you! I swear!” He held up his hands to show they were empty.
“What do you need,” I asked wearily. “And if you say a kiss I am so out of here.” He chuckled.
“I prefer someone who has their assets a bit lower.” I frowned, unsure of what he meant. “I’m as gay as they come and have been forever.”
“Let me ask you something Kristen,” he said before he coughed. “Do you believe in souls? That when you die your soul will be taken up to heaven and you’ll be embraced by God and go live among the angels?” I winced. He’d hit a sore spot. I’d grown up going to church and believing in souls and an after life, but when I graduated from high school I’d gone my own way and it was easier to believe you weren’t doing wrong is you didn’t believe that someone above was watching you.
“No. I don’t. Do you?” Freddy shrugged, which looked awkward with him leaning against the dumpster.
“I do believe in souls. And a soul right now would really help me. Really hit the spot. Could I have just a bit of yours? I promise that it won’t hurt you in any way.” I frowned and pulled on my ponytail as I thought, the end long enough to hang over my shoulder and rest on my chest.I’d heard stories of people selling their soul to the devil for a trade. I’d seen the movies where they instantly regretted it or they went crazy and became a different person without a soul…but maybe being a different person wouldn’t be bad?
“What will you offer in trade,” I asked. “I know how these deals work. I’ve seen movies.” Freddy’s eyes narrowed a bit.
“I am not the devil,” he snapped and then instantly went into a coughing fit. I sat back on my heels and waited for him to finish. “I am not the devil,” he repeated. “I don’t really give you anything in return because I’m not taking your soul. I’m taking a piece. And it will grow back. You won’t change into some soulless beast, I promise you.” I said nothing. “Fine, you have my devotion and I will owe you for the rest of your mortal life. Trust me, that is a good deal.”
“So, what are you? A soul eater?” He grinned, showing his insanely white and straight teeth.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“You’re asking me to believe I have a soul and you need part of it,” I pointed out. “Try me.” He straightened himself up a bit and I backed up a little, ready to run if I needed to.
“I am a demon,” he said in a low voice. “I serve the devil who is my master and wander the earth doing his bidding.” He stared at me and I stared back for a beat.
“A gay demon?” Freddy rolled his eyes and slumped down again. I wondered if he cared that he was ruining his pants.
“It happens,” he explained. “And to be honest I’m a lesser demon who is just coming off from punishment. I was starved for a couple months because I failed a mission. That is why I need a bit of your soul. It will perk me up and give me the energy I need to go hunting.” I sucked air through my bottom teeth for a second as I considered his situation. If this was all real would I really have a demon to depend on for a favor? If a soul could grow back would it really matter if I let him take a bite?
“Do you always have to ask permission before you take someone’s soul,” I
asked. “That is pretty polite of a demon.”
“We have to have some form of permission or another,” Freddy explained. “But the rules are kinda lax. I mainly asked you because you were kind enough to stop. How would it look if I sucked you dry after you tried to help me? I’m a demon, but I’m not a monster.” I sucked more air from my bottom teeth, causing a low whistling sound. “Ugh. Could you just not?” I frowned. “Sorry.”
“It’s a nervous habit,” I explained. “I can’t always control it. Anyway, Freddy, won’t you get in trouble for telling me this?” He shrugged again.
“Sometimes demons have human…. Companions. I wouldn’t call them friends but they are a step above pets I guess. As long as you swear not to go running through the streets shouting our existence I guess you’re fine. So, enough stalling? Are you gonna let me have a piece of your soul or not?” I sighed and inched closer.
“What do I have to do?” He smiled and straightened up.
“Just lean in close like you’re gonna kiss me and open your mouth.” I did as he asked, aware of his hands in case this all ended up being a trick to stab me with a hidden knife. He leaned in, opened his mouth and took a huge breath. I watched in amazement as light began to seep from my mouth and into his. It was a steady stream of golden light and I felt myself begin to get very tired. I began to slump forward and Freddy brought up his hands to steady me. I wanted to protest, change my mind, but just as sudden as the light began it stopped. I passed out in Freddy’s arms and he took me home to care for me until I regained strength.
Since then, a year later, Freddy and I had been almost inseparable. He’d show up at my work unannounced to try and take me to lunch. He’d let himself into my apartment and be waiting when I got home. Every once in awhile I gave him bites of my soul if he was weak. The fact that I’d gone a week without seeing him was a miracle. Not that I hated having him around. When he interrupted my boring customer service job I was overjoyed to see him. But he also took me away from my family and friends so we could hang out. Wait…I finished up in the bathroom and went to wash my hands. If Freddy hadn’t been by to see me did that mean he was busy? Was he working harder than usual? Freddy had been punished for being a relaxed demon when I found him. Was he maybe going to be punished again? He had been spending a lot of time with me.
I dialed his number, but got his voicemail. “You reached Freddy. You can leave a message, but if I don’t want to talk to you I won’t call you back. Get the hint.”
At the beep I said, “Freddy I think you’re keeping something from me. Don’t think we won’t talk about it tonight.” I hung up and returned to my desk to finish the work day. Freddy really had become my best friend in the past year. He had been so strange and exotic to me at first. I’d never been friends with a gay man and he was completely different from all of my friends. Though whether it was because he was gay or a demon I didn’t know. My friends had met him on a few occasions and he’d met my family once too, but I mostly kept him away from people I knew. He might be my friend and forever in my debt, but he was still a demon. I’d never met another, but he’d proven his magical abilities to me on more than one occasion.
Freddy was a pretty cool demon. He could burn things with the touch of a finger, teleport, and suck souls. I’d caught him talking to the mirror once and assumed he could magically speak to other demons as well. Even though we were incredibly close and he knew everything about me I was learning new things about him constantly. He didn’t share his secrets all willy nilly like the young girl I was. He answered when asked and was straightforward. I liked that quality about him. It also meant I could talk his ear off and he wouldn’t complain.
“It’s Linda’s birthday and we were planning on stopping by Sweet Attack after work to celebrate,” my cubicle mate Sarah said between calls. I adored Sweet Attack. It was the best bakery in West Pasadena, California and the cause of my muffin top. Linda was a strange old lady that I didn’t get along with though, so I could have made time to go, but I turned the offer down. I had to get ready for my brother’s birthday and then summon the strength to go to the club or wherever Freddy wanted to go.
When work ended I was out of the building like a shot and jumped in my clunker 1999 Toyota camry. Steve, the car I had affectionately named, had been with mine since I was sixteen and wasn’t getting any younger. I dreaded having to buy my own transportation. I was saving to go back to college and buying a car was a huge expense. Freddy told me that the cost of the repairs I made could go to a monthly payment on a car, easily, but what did demons know about money? He seemed to have a never ending supply of it, so he couldn’t know about the real cost of things. He definitely didn’t like that I was on a budget and tried to get me to spend money all the time. As I considered how much was in my bank account at the moment I went to tug on my ponytail and sighed when it wasn’t there.
I’d let Freddy give me a make over six months before and he basically taped my eyes closed so it would be a total surprise. He’d given me a pixie cut and dyed my mouse brown hair a platinum blond. “Blonds have more fun,” he insisted. “And this way I won’t have to see you tug on that pony tail anymore.” Freddy only let two things I did annoy him. One was my ponytail, which was gone now, and the other was my habit of sucking air through my teeth. I only did it when I was thinking hard or stressed out, but it was like fingernails on a chalkboard to him. I pulled down my mirror and looked myself over. I did look drab today. I got to work at six in the morning so I didn’t really try to look presentable that early. I sat at a desk all day, so what did it matter?
My hair, though cute, was flat, my skin looked whiter than usual, though summer was coming and that would change, and my green eyes had bags under them. I was not mentally or physically prepared for the evening ahead of me. I drove home and blasted Spice Girls, singing at the top of my lungs to try and get some energy back into my life. At my apartment, the one thing my parents still helped pay for, I tossed my clothes in the hamper and jumped in the shower. It was actually kind of lonely to live by myself. I’d insisted that I couldn’t have a roommate, I’d grown up in a house with four siblings and sharing was something I was just done with. When my parents let me rent out one of their one bedroom apartments I’d been excited. But sometimes I got scared, or lonely. I’d been on the verge of buying a couple of cats when I met Freddy. Now it was like I had a roommate.
In the shower I sang even more, not caring if my neighbors heard me, which they probably didn’t because I came home around three, before a normal work day was over. When I was finished I blow dried my hair, actually put some product in it to give it a slightly tousled look, and threw on some jeans and a cute blouse. I applied some foundation under my eyes so I didn’t look dead and put on some eyeliner, mascara, and blush before I left to drive the hour to my parent’s house. I drove with my sunglasses on and blasted some rock, feeling pretty dang cool. I ignored everyone who glanced my way and rejoiced in the me time I was getting. I arrived at the house a little after five, only a bit late, and grabbed the gift I’d gotten for my youngest brother out of the back seat.
I walked into the cute two story home and practically got tackled by Daniel, who grabbed me in a hug. “Oh my gosh you need to come over more! I missed you! And you know you never text me anymore either. What’s up with that? Freddy taking up all your time?” I hugged the kid back and smiled.
“Happy Birthday Pipsqueak.” He let me go and stepped away. He was getting older. Daniel was fifteen, the only kid still at home, and he adored me. Nothing I did could make him hate me, and I’d given him some good reasons too. He had the family’s mouse brown hair and the same green eyes as me, but he was tanned from his yard work job and he also played every sport imaginable. He’d get a scholarship from somewhere, without a doubt. “Freddy doesn’t take up all my time. I’m here, aren’t I?” Daniel grinned and grabbed the gift box from my hands. “Hey! That’s not until after dinner!” He shook the box dramatically and then handed it back to me.
“Who are you hanging out with tonight? Freddy or your other friends.”
“Ha! I knew it. He’s a weird guy Kris. He better be being nice to you.” I smiled and slung an arm over his shoulders, though it was awkward because he was taller than me and had to lean down.
“He always is.”
“Is that Kristen,” our mom called from the kitchen. “Come and help me bring the food out, will ya?” The front door opened and our oldest sister Laura and her husband walked in. I left Daniel to greet them and went to help our mom. She’d made a noodle casserole that was covered in cheese and bread crumbs and there was a large cheesecake waiting to be cut into. I reminded myself that my muffin top wasn’t going anywhere any time soon and I helped bring out the meal and side dishes. The table was huge, our parents had gotten it when they’d had their third child, me. It was a ten seater, which was almost perfect. There were our parents, me and Daniel, Laura and David and their twin girls Lucy and Emma, Hannah and Stephen. No boyfriends or girlfriends were allowed, only spouses to help save on room. Stephen, the second oldest, was pretty serious with his girlfriend though so our Mom and Dad might have to buy another table.
I was just setting out the green beans when the girls ran in to give my legs hugs. The twins were three and loved me, as they should. I was the aunt who spoiled them rotten with dolls and candy. Nothing too expensive, but kids didn’t pay attention to that stuff. Laura appeared with her two padded toddler seats so the kids could sit at the table and reach their food. I grabbed one from her and helped her set them on the chairs and tie them down. “Glad to see you,” Laura said by way of greeting. Her hair was up in a messy bun and she wore tan capris and a blue tank top that could barely contain her chest. Flattery women were heavy chested. It was one of the excuses I gave myself whenever I thought I should take up running. When we were done setting the chairs up I gave her a hug and we each grabbed a twin and tied them into their seats. Our mom, Liza, appeared with paper plates for the girls and fruit snacks to tide them over till everyone was seated.
“Kris!” Stephen grabbed me from the back and lifted me up and practically killed me with a heimlich worthy hug. “I was sure that Freddy would steal you from us tonight!” He set me down and I turned to punch his arm, which he dodged.
“Freddy’s night life doesn’t start till later,” I admitted. “I think we are hitting a club.” Stephen shook his head and adjusted his glasses.
“You and clubs nowadays. I don’t get it. That was never really your scene.” Of all the siblings, Stephen understood me best. We were only a year apart and had grown up as best friends. We’d both been quiet book worms, but Stephen had gotten a scholarship to UCLA and I had barely gotten into Pasadena City College. I was smart, just not book smart. College was a struggle for me, which was part of the reason why I had taken a year off.
“It’s cause of Freddy,” Laura said as she took her seat next to the twins and her husband came in and took the seat on the other side of the kids. “Girls will do anything for a guy.”
“Freddy’s gay.” Hannah had arrived. She had dyed her brown hair black, dressed in a tight black dress, and wore purple eye shadow. “He couldn’t convince Kris to do anything she didn’t want to.” Mom looked Hannah over, disapprovingly and when Dad entered he stopped and stared.
“Going to a party later, Hannah,” he asked as he took his spot at the head of the table.
“I don’t have any plans, but it is Friday night so who knows what will happen?” Hannah was nineteen and had moved out right after graduation to live with some friends in L.A. She was an artist and very expressive. She was the rebel in the family, though I also didn’t attend church anymore and now partied every so often. If anyone in the family would have met and befriended a demon it should have been Hannah. I wondered if Freddy preferred her to me. If he wished I was more like my younger sister. I shook my head to clear it of those thoughts. Freddy loved me in his own way. Sure, he had given me a makeover and was changing me little by little, but he owed his life to me. Hannah might be cooler, but nothing could change the relationship that Freddy and I had.
Daniel entered the room and everyone took their seats. I sat between Daniel and Hannah and everyone helped themselves and dug in. Though we were all there for Danny everyone drifted into their own conversations; Laura and Hannah talking across the table, Dad listening in, and Mom asking David about the twins. “Are you going to hang out with your friends tonight after dinner,” I asked Danny as we ate. Dan was a sweet kid and hung out with a good crowd. For a jock he wasn’t the most popular but his friends had stuck by him since elementary school, and those were the kind you wanted to have around. They weren’t too wild, but they had fun.
“We are going to the new Batman movie,” he answered. “And guess what? Lisa is coming.” As he said it his cheeks flushed and I grinned. Lisa was Daniel’s crush. She was actually a little bit of a shy nerd, on track to be valedictorian, and from what Daniel told me of her, she seemed really sweet.
“Did you invite her or did your friends?”
“I finally worked up the courage to ask her to hang out. I wish I had asked her on a date though. Then we’d be on the way to being a couple, ya know? I don’t want someone to swoop in and take her out from under me.” I ruffled his hair and he shoved my hand away, pretending to be irritated.
“If she doesn’t see that you’re perfect than she’s not the girl for you. Trust me, she has to like you. She’d be stupid not to.” Our conversation drifted off to talking about school and what the upcoming summer held and before I knew it it was time for dessert. Mom brought in the cheesecake, Danny’s favorite, and we all sang happy birthday and he blew out the candles. Mom asked what he wished for and he looked at me and winked. Something told me his wish was Lisa related. When we’d all had dessert Hannah and I helped Mom clear and clean the dishes and when we were done it was a little after seven.
“I should get going,” I said as I glanced at the clock. By the time I got home it would be eight and I wanted to clean a little before I went out. That way I’d be able to relax tomorrow.
“Me too,” Hannah said. “I’ve gotta figure out what I’m doing tonight.” We both hugged Daniel and our parents and walked outside together. “Listen Kristen,” Hannah said stone faced. I paused on the steps, surprised at her tone. “I just wanted to make sure you know what you’re doing with Freddy. You’re not in love with him or anything are you? Cause you’re too good to be a hag.” I laughed and walked down the steps to stand beside her on the walk.
“I am in no way in love with Freddy,” I assured her. “He is just a new friend who is good for me.”
“But he seems to have taken the place of friends you’ve had for years,” Hannah argued. “And since he’s been in your life you’ve changed. I’m not saying I don’t like the changes, but I want you to be you. Ya know? Don’t go changing just to please a guy, even if he is gay.”
“I am changing,” I agreed. “But it’s just because Freddy sees potential in me and I want to see where this path leads. If I don’t like it I can always go back to the way I was. Don’t worry little Sis. I know what I’m doing. You be careful too, alright?” Hannah nodded and we gave eachother a quick hug. We were four years apart and had never really been that close, but if anyone understood change it was Hannah. I was grateful for her advice. It showed that she cared.
We said our goodbyes and got into our cars and drove away. I blasted the music again as I drove and made it home in record time. I unlocked my door, mentally going over the list of what I wanted to clean, but when I opened it I found Freddy sitting on my couch. “If I want you to come in when I’m gone I’ll give you a key Freddy,” I said, only slightly irritated. He got to his feet and looked me over.
“We’ve gotta be at the club at ten and we’ve got some work to do,” he explained. He was dressed in bright white pants and a black shirt that looked like silk. His red hair was in a mess of curls and he looked like he was wearing a little bit of make up.
“Since when do we have to be at the club at a specific time,” I asked as I put my purse on the kitchen table.
“Since you’re meeting the devil tonight.”