So this week, there’s no #ThursThreads. However, Coldly Calculating is back over at Our Write Side, so the stories continue! This week’s prompt revolves around the nine circles of hell, so it seems fitting that I’d use it for Secondhand Soul. We were to pick and choose circles and incorporate them into our piece. In my case, I chose anger and violence – because of course I did.
TW: Other than the violence, there’s a hint of self-harm.
Lucifer looks at me, elbows resting on the desk.
“Sir.” I bow, keeping my voice steady.
“Marcus tells me you two visited your grandmother?” The demon in question stands a foot to my left, making it difficult for me to focus.
“Yes sir. We, um, talked to her.” I take a breath, glad that it’s steady. “She didn’t seem willing to cooperate at first, but then Marcus threatened her with hurting me.” Even though it was just an act, I can’t help the pain in my chest at the memory of his apparent betrayal. I’m hyper-aware of the thin bandages around my neck. “She’s given her word that she’ll back off.”
“And you believe her?” He directs his question to Marcus, but I’m the one that responds.
“Something tells me she’ll try something else to get Videl’s soul back.” Marcus’ voice is soft, and I wonder if my name always sounds like that when he says it.
Lucifer waves a hand, conjuring a large mirror behind him, similar to the one I’d used to watch my mother. You can imagine my surprise when it’s her image that appears, sitting on a park bench beside my grandmother. She’s carrying a small baby, but her eyes follow the movements of a little girl a few feet away. Again, I’m struck by how much time has passed – Eva looks like she could be ten years old. “You’re right – she’s trying to reinsert herself into your mother’s life.”
“Why?” I try to sound simply curious, to not betray the very real love I still feel for my mother despite the loss of my soul.
“Something tells me she’s going to try striking another deal.” She wouldn’t, would she? Would she really try to use my mother like that – or worse, my half-siblings?
My jaw clenches and I dig my nails into my palms in an attempt to keep calm.
“What do you want us to do?” Marcus breaks the silence, but I’m still unable to look away from the mirror. My grandmother coaxes my mother into letting her carry the baby.
“For now, keep an eye on Maria.” Lucifer stands, stretching his arms above his head. “A couple of other demons are keeping tabs on dear old grandma… If I knew she was going to be such a nuisance, I never would’ve taken that deal.” I’m still not sure why this bothers him so much, but I can’t bring myself to ask. After all, shouldn’t he be excited at the prospect of another soul offered up to him?
He dismisses us with a wave. Without thinking, I turn in place and appear in the park in the mirror. Marcus must have known what I was going to do, because I feel his grip on my arm, pulling me back as I’m about to emerge from the trees and confront my grandmother.
“Marcus…” The threat in my voice is clear.
“What exactly do you intend to do?”
“I don’t know, but I can’t let her ruin my mother’s life again!” I pull away from him, and this time I nearly make it to the bench before he rips me away from the spot and we’re back in the living room of his house.
All I can see is red, my eyes are burning, and I don’t know what I’m doing when I clench my fist and swing at Marcus’ face. It’s a direct hit and knocks his glasses away, revealing his demonic eyes – pools of green-black about to spill over the edges. For a moment I think he’ll hit back. Instead, he pins me to the wall by my wrists.
“You wanted me to be violent, didn’t you?” I’m shaking, fighting the urge to kick at him. Biting the inside of my mouth and digging my nails into my palms, I close my eyes. One of those is bound to make me bleed, and maybe then I’ll snap out of it. I let myself fall to my knees and Marcus follows, pulling me into an embrace that lets me cry into his neck. “She’s going to ruin them – like she ruined me.”
“We won’t let that happen. I promise.”
I’m trying to figure out a way to give a little more background on Marcus, at some point. Maybe next week – we’ll see where the prompts take us!
Friendly reminder: #TuesFlashFicTrain is open and ready for your responses!
As always, think happy thoughts!