Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
“Put the long-haired fellow down, now there’s a good chap.”
Devin turned his head and saw the silhouette of a slender young man standing at the end of the alleyway.
“Who dares,” Piggy-eyes growled.
Devin recognised both the voice and the silhouette as belonging to the metal fan he’d spoken to earlier. The pressure on his chest relented enough for him to shout out a warning.
“Get out of here, Carny! They’re not human.”
Devin was not the only one to recognise the slender man in the Slayer T-shirt. Surprisingly, Piggy-eyes seemed to know who he was as well. “Oh,” he said.
The pressure on Devin’s chest lessoned and Piggy-eyes lowered him enough for his toes to come back into contact with the floor again.
“My apologies, I did not see it was you, Carnivrillarofax. What is your interest in this human?”
“I spoke to him earlier,” Carny... Carnivrillarofax said. “He seems a nice enough fellow.”
Carny didn’t seem bothered by Piggy-eyes monstrous appearance. He casually walked up to them.
“Is that it?” Piggy-eyes said. “Just some random human you happened to strike up a conversation with?”
“Do I need anything else?” Carny said.
“This is my claim,” Piggy-eyes said.
Devin’s teeth rattled as the demon slammed him back against the wall.
“Is that a challenge, Cacodoughovorax?” Carny asked. His face took on a feral cast.
Devin realised the reason Carny hadn’t been bothered by their monstrous appearance was because he was another monster, just like them. More than that. The demon that had Devin pinned to the wall was afraid of him.
“No.” Cacodoughovorax shook his head and lowered Devin back to the floor.
“I heard stories about your technique,” Carny said. “And after seeing it first-hand for myself I can’t say that I approve. There should always be an element of freedom of choice, and engaging the services of a succubus...”
He glanced over at the blonde girl with the tight top and red eyes.
“...to goad the potential claim into fighting tips the scales too far in your favour. It’s not very sporting.”
“He hit me,” Cacodoughovorax said. “You saw. He used violence.”
“I saw. He didn’t want to fight and you backed him so far into a corner he saw no other option than to use violence to prevent further violence. Even succubi attempt to seduce their victims first before claiming them.”
Cacodoughovorax glowered but said nothing.
“It’s not a failure to let some slip through your fingers. It’s sorta the point, actually. And this...” he gestured to the pouting succubus. “You should be better than this. There’s no need to resort to these silly tricks. Just go into the city centre on a Friday night and you’ll find any number of stupid humans willing to break their fists on your chin.”
Carny spoke to the demon like a teacher giving a lesson to a pupil. And like most surly pupils, Cacodoughovorax didn’t appear to take the lesson too well. He walked away, taking the blonde with him, but was clearly still angry at being cheated of his prize.
That left Devin alone with Carny. This was a good thing?
“Are you okay?” Carny asked.
He still looked like a skinny student in a Slayer T-shirt. A skinny student in a Slayer T-shirt that had just scared off two demons.
“Um. Maybe,” Devin said. “They weren’t human, were they?”
“Nope,” Carny replied.
“You’re not human either.”
“This is fucked up,” Devin said.
“I wouldn’t think about it,” Carny said.
“That’s going to be hard,” Devin said. “Welcome to university. Oh, and by the way, scary demons are real and walk among us. How come no-one talks about this?”
“Because they’re smart enough to know not to go digging further. As should you. You don’t have the warlock spark. When those without talent try to enter this world it never ends well for them. If you’re lucky you’ll be thought to be insane and locked away.”
Carny conspicuously left off what would happen if Devin was unlucky.
“What if...” Devin struggled with the alien name, “...Cacodoughovorax comes back.”
He’d seen the demon’s face as he’d walked away. That motherfucker was seriously not happy with this.
“He won’t,” Carny said. “It would be seen as a challenge to me.”
Again Carny conspicuously omitted the consequences of making that challenge.
“Thanks for stepping in,” Devin said.
“Not a problem,” Carny said. “Thanks for the music recommendations. I always like checking out new bands.”
And with that, the blond student in the Slayer T-shirt, who was not a blond student in a Slayer T-shirt, popped his headphones back in and ambled off into the darkness.
Devin threw up in his sink once he got back to his single-bedroom halls of residence room. His neighbours would probably think he was a lightweight who couldn’t hold his beer. Devin didn’t give a fuck. The world was fucked.
Demons... things... monsters... walking among us.
He sat down in the darkness and tried to rationalise what he’d seen.
Maybe it was... no.
But what if... no.
He knew what he’d seen.
There was a world that overlapped with this one and Devin hoped he never had the misfortune of stepping in it again.
That hope went unanswered. Devin might have decided he was done with that world, but it didn’t mean that world was done with him. It didn’t even give him the night before it came back, knocking at his door.
Literally in this case. Devin was disturbed from his morose ponderings by a knock at his door. He opened it and blanched as he recognised the blonde girl with the tight jumper who was not a blonde girl in a tight jumper standing in the doorway. There was no trace of the devil about her here. She looked up at Devin with big brown eyes.
“Don’t be afraid” she said. “Please hear me out.”
To be continued... (where I suspect things will be getting a little NSFW)