Collaborative Fanfic 2

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Collaborative Fanfic 2

Postby Stratburst » Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:23 am

I couldn't find the first thread, so let's try this again . . .


Jack blinked his tired eyes and checked his watch.

"Shit," he groaned. It was already 9:30 at night. He wiped his left hand across his forehead, leaving a long smudge of black paint. He had lost track of time building sets for Mac – sorry, the Scottish Play – and he was exhausted. Katy-Ann had left long ago, saying she needed to go home and do her homework. He didn't blame her.

He reached over and capped the paint bucket. Time to stop working, and get his ass home. He doubted he would get enough sleep tonight; forget about doing homework.

"Man, I hope Mr. Machrie appreciates this," he mumbled to himself. He was sure Katy-Ann would, if he hadn't accidentally screwed something up. He tried not to think about her too much: something about her made him feel strange, it brought out feelings within himself he wasn't sure he was ready to face. At the same time, he wasn't sure he could stop thinking about her.

He felt confused about Katy-Ann. He was no innocent. He'd borrowed a few Playboys off Rich, Jack had always meant to return them but Rich skipped town before he had the chance. Now they were in between the two mattresses on his bed where Mom couldn't find them. Yeah, Jack knew he wasn't gay, but he had a difficult time reconciling Katy-Ann to the women in those magazines.

Katy-Ann was . . . cleaner, somehow. Part of him wanted to put her in the same category as those nude models, or the countless bimbos who were always throwing themselves at Stan or Rich, like Michelle, or that drunk chick had Rich dated for less-than two weeks. Girls who Jack wanted to do . . . something . . . with, but would never give him the time of day whenever his friends were around. But another part of Jack rebelled against the idea of lumping Katy-Ann in with those chicks.

She deserves better than that, a voice in his head told him. She deserves better than you.

But there was yet another part of him that warmed every time Katy-Ann smiled, or laughed. When she was with him, a hole that had always been in Jack's heart – a hole he had never even noticed was there – was mysteriously filled. He liked that feeling. He never wanted it to end.

For a second, Jack thought about that comment she made, about getting someone else to count her freckles. They would be lying somewhere, he would tickle her and she would laugh. And maybe they'd even kiss. And maybe those kisses would lead . . . His mind shied away from that idea.

Something rustled, out in the auditorium. Jack spun around.

Jeez, what's your problem? he scolded himself, even as his heart leaped into his throat. It's probably rats, or a stray piece of paper falling. Quit being such a pussy.

"Hello?" Jack walked out onto the stage. "Anybody there?"

It was just a coincidence that he grabbed a nearby broom as he walked towards the middle of the empty stage. He was merely going to sweep the hardwood floor. That was it; no other reason.

"Hello?" he called again, trying to peer into the gloom.


"Probably nothing," Jack muttered to himself. He turned around and walked towards the wings.

Then, he heard it again. Something scuttled, like nails scraping against the cement floor. Jack spun around.

"Who's there?" he called, the heavy broom held across his chest. He winced as he heard his voice crack. Nice one, macho man, he thought.

He looked around again.

There was nothing. Only a single floor lamp illuminated the stage. Nothing else.

"Okay, get your ass home and into bed," he told himself. "You're starting to freak out at nothing." He walked offstage, hunting for his jacket and backpack.

From the shadows of the auditorium, a pair of red eyes glowed.

(Who would like to continue?)
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Postby JerrBear » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:31 am

Pepito hunched down on his paws and sighed. He wanted to kill the human, but he had other orders. I have to find the girl, he thought.

The chihuahua could smell her scent among the many human smells in the school. Finding her would be easy. Fulfilling his job would be hard. He scampered quietly across the floor, hoping the boy would see him so he could feast on his entrails.

* * * *
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Postby Stratburst » Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:40 pm

Chapter #2

Charlotte sat at her desk. The flat surface was too high for her and the wooden chair was uncomfortable, but that didn't matter. Life was pain, and The Lord didn't have time for those who whined and complained about every little thing. That's what her father always said.

Through her open door, she could hear Father (she never called him Dad) mumbling as he composed his sermon for next Sunday's service. Charlotte had a feeling it was going to be a doozy; he had been talking all week about the harmful effects violent video games and Satanic music and television shows had on America's Youth.

She knew he was drawing on everything from Hell's Kitchen (the name of the television show was bad enough, but that foul-mouthed Englishman was even worse. And couldn't they have found a decent, God-fearing American chef instead?), Grand Theft Auto, Marilyn Manson (enough said), Avatar: The Last Airbender (it preached heathen philosophies and magic) to Harry Potter (it taught impressionable children that witchcraft could solve all their problems). She knew she'd also throw in a few broadsides against the Catholic Church ("the Whore of Rome"); that was one of his favourite rants.

The clock struck nine. Ordinarily, it was time to finish homework and start her Bible Study, but not tonight. She had other plans, but she was covered: she had answered her parents' questions about Revelations last night to compensate. Mother and Father would never know the difference. Now she had some evidence to dispose of.

She pulled a key from her breast pocket and slipped it into her bag. She knew that only two students were trusted enough to have keys to the school: Jack and that bitch Katy-Ann. And wasn't it interesting that Jack's key had mysteriously found its way into her pocket? And how conveniently too. And she knew that Jack worked late at the school, building sets for Macbeth. It all fit together so easily.

She stood up, taking her bag and a sheet of looseleaf paper with her. She walked quietly down the hall, only stopping once to place the paper on her mother's desk.

"Hello, Mother, I'm going out for a few minutes," she said to the sharp-featured woman working in the kitchen.

"On a school night?" Charlotte's mother demanded. "Where are you going?"

"I'm going over to Tharqa's house." The lie fell easily from Charlotte's lips.

"Oh yes. Such a nice, healthy girl," Mother said. "You should invite her to the Youth Group meeting on Sunday. I'm sure she'd enjoy it."

"I'll try, but I don't know if she's quite ready for it, yet."

"I understand. These things take time," Mother mused. "Have you done all of your homework?"

"Yes, Mother, and I finished Bible Study too," Charlotte replied. "I left the answers on your desk."

"Good girl." The woman favoured her with a rare smile. "I'll mark your work when I get the chance. I'll expect you back home in an hour."

"Thank you, Mother. See you then," Charlotte promised. Perfect. An hour was more than she really needed, but who was she to question The Lord's generosity?

She slipped out the kitchen door, and walked down the walkway to the white picket fence, passing the large "McCain in '08" sign on the lawn. The sun was going down, and already the air felt colder. But she ignored the early autumn chill; there were more important things to accomplish.

The key was the biggest problem. She needed to get rid of it in some way. It was a shame she couldn't place it on Jack's body, but hopefully the note she had written – carefully copying Jack's handwriting – would compensate for that tiny detail.

She briefly considered dropping it down a grating, but no: it could be too easily found there. It needed to go somewhere else, where no one would think of looking.

Behind the local McDonald's was a dumpster. It took no time at all to slip the key into one of the foul-smelling garbage bags that piled in the metal container. No one would find it in there, amongst all the other garbage.

She passed the construction site, a site she knew Jack's older brother worked on. Yes, the company kept the C-4 and detonators under lock and key, but even their security wasn't enough for those with the resources. She had her grandfather's old stethoscope and she knew how to use it. But she didn't need to go there tonight; she had already broken in there, and left no trace of her passage. It was a place that she knew Jack had gone to, another piece of the puzzle that God had dropped into her hands.

But Jack was nothing, a cipher. It was Katy-Ann she wanted. Katy-Ann, who had the only other school key available to students, Katy-Ann, who was probably violating her vows to God by allowing Jack to kiss her, and touch her, and do . . . other things. It was Katy-Ann who needed a sharp lesson that God's love wasn't about happiness and singing. God's love needed to be earned in pain, anguish and suffering, and Charlotte had a plan to teach pink-haired bitch that lesson in no uncertain terms.

She pulled the envelope from her bag, wiping her fingerprints off it before putting it in a street-corner mailbox. The final piece of the puzzle. Jack's parents would receive the note – painstakingly written in his own messy writing – only a few days after the tragedy, and everything would be made perfectly clear.

And the whole world would know that sweet little innocent Katy-Ann had driven her precious boyfriend to suicide. An extremely violent, messy suicide.

She checked her watch. 9:30. If she hurried, she could be home before curfew. Charlotte grinned evilly as she walked home. Everything complete; now all she had to do was wait.

(to be continued . . .)
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Postby Stratburst » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:42 pm

Chapter #3

Jack rolled his shoulders underneath his hoodie, stumbling down the hall in his weariness. He knew staying this late was a mistake, but he had gotten so caught up in his work that he had lost track of time.

He quickly reviewed his classes: he was ahead of the game on most of his subjects, and Mr. Gaiman would easily give him an extension for his Creative Writing homework. Good, he desperately needed the sleep.

Up ahead, the front door of the school. He knew the doors only locked from the outside; all he had to do was push his way through and he'd be on his way home. He could hardly wait to trade the stale air and smell of industrial disinfectant for some nice, clean night air and, eventually, his bed at home. He'd check his emails, talk Stan out of his latest scheme, send a note to Katy-Ann, and then hit the hay.

"Yay, sleep," he mumbled, half-grinning to himself. "That's where I'm a Viking."

That front door was so close. He turned, putting his back to the door so he could easily push it open. He breathed in, ready for the clang and the door falling back to allow him outside.

The bar clanged against his hip, but the door refused to open. Jack rebounded, nearly falling over. His bag thumped to the floor.

"What the ..." He pushed at it again. The door didn't budge. Someone must have locked it from the inside as well.

"No problem," he mumbled, picking up his backpack. Principal Giuliani had handed Katy-Ann and him copies of the school key, after a million and a half warnings of what would happen should they lose it. Jack had only half-listened to the 15-minute lecture at the time: he had never lost anything in his life. He opened the special compartment in his backpack, where the iron key always resided.

Until now. There was no key. The compartment was empty.

"Oh, shit," Jack breathed. Giuliani was going to tear him a new one for this. Jack thought hard; where could it have gone? His exhausted mind came up blank. There was no other place; Jack had always left the key in that compartment near the top of his backpack, where he knew it would always be there. And he always zipped it up, so that it wouldn't fall out.

He slammed his body against the doors a few times, hoping one of them would be loose and let him out. No joy; he was stuck in the school.

He pulled out his cellphone. He needed to call somebody, but who? He quickly rejected his parents: he didn't want another lecture. Stan? He'd help, but he was a motormouth. The last thing Jack needed was this story spread all over the school. Besides, there was no way he could get in.

Katy-Ann? She was the only other person he trusted who had a key. Sure, she'd have his hide, but if he asked her nicely she might cover for him until he figured out where the key had gone.

Or would she? He'd heard the stories about how she ratted out Penny and got thrown out of the Queen Bees. But no: he'd heard the full story on that one. Penny had never asked for Katy-Ann's discretion, that blonde bitch had just assumed her little helpers would go along with her game when she ran off with Rich. The comparison wasn't the same.

All Jack needed was 48 hours to find the key, and everything would be cool. He was sure that, if he asked Katy-Ann, she'd be okay with giving him that extension. Then, if he couldn't find the key, he'd man up and take whatever punishment Principal Giuliani dished out.

He nodded. Yeah, Katy-Ann would agree to that. He winced, thinking of the disappointment on her face when he told he'd messed up. And yeah, if he couldn't find the key, he'd willingly pay the price. But the important thing was to get out of the school, and only Katy-Ann could help him do that. Jack pulled out his cellphone and hit #3 on his speed dial.

The numbers beeped in rapid succession. He heard the phone begin to ring.

* * *


In the wet darkness of a sub-basement, an LED winked to life. Red numbers glowed, the only light in the musty room. Surrounded by lumpy rolls, a timer started to count down.

(To be continued . . .)
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Postby JerrBear » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:35 pm

The dog let out a low growl as Jack passed by him. The teenager stopped for a few seconds and looked around, trying to find the source of the sound. Pepito quickly scurried into one of the dark spaces. Jack sighed and gave up, going back to his cell phone.

Thanks to that human's stupidity, I'm stuck in here! he thought to himself. Azrael would have his hide for a rug if he failed his mission. A living rug. How was he supposed to find the girl if he couldn't leave the school?

The chihuahua licked his chops. At least now he had an excuse to kill the human. He just had to wait for the right moment.

* * * *
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Postby Hasedoki » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:36 am

I absolutely love where this is going. (I think I've actually checked this thread for updates more often than the comic itself.*)

*Qualifer: I know when new comics are coming out, and I've got some down time at work. But still, don't let this weaken the message.
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Postby Stratburst » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:28 am

Jack listened to the discordant buzz of the cellphone dialing Katy-Ann's number. One. Two. Three . . .

"C'mon, c'mon!" He slumped against a bank of lockers near the front entrance. "Pick up the fucking phone, please!"

Four. Five. Six.

"Hi, this is Katy-Ann's voice mail." Jack nearly snarled at the cheery voice on the other end of the line. "I can't come to the phone right now, but leave a message after the tone and I'll call you back as soon as possible. Oh, and you can also tell me your favourite Jello flavour. Unless it's lime, you sick freak. Bye." *BEEP*

"Hey, Katy-Ann, it's Jack." He fought to be polite. It wasn't her fault he was trapped in the school. "I got locked at school, and I think I left my key at home. Could you swing by and let me out? I'll owe you big time. 'Kay thanks. Bye."

Just before he snapped his phone shut, he had a sudden inspiration. "Oh, and what's wrong with lime jello, you sick freak?"

Grinning despite himself, he closed the phone and slipped it in his pocket. He still had some charge left; hopefully Katy-Ann would call back soon. Wrapping his arms around himself, he settled down to wait.

* * *

"And here is Mr. Mittens sitting on the front porch, doesn't he just look adorable?"

Katy-Ann feigned interest in Great Aunt Martha's interminable cat pictures. Katy-Ann loved cats herself, but if she had to sit through another photograph of the grossly obese tabby, she was sure she'd skin the thing and turn him into bedroom slippers. Katy-Ann concentrated on breathing through her mouth; Great Aunt Martha hadn't been cleaning her dentures regularly.

"And doesn't that throw pillow look exactly like your hair?" Martha burbled on. "Back in my day, a girl who dyed her hair was considered a floozie, did you know that? You're not a floozie, are you? You'd better not be messing around with boys, young lady. Back in my day girls who messed around with boys always came to a bad end. Why even holding hands with a boy could ruin your reputation! Ooh, look! This one's of Mr. Mittens on the couch . . ."

"Maybe if you had messed around with boys when you were younger, you might have actually gotten married and not become such an irritating old bat," Katy-Ann thought spitefully.

The next instant, she scolded herself. Great Aunt Martha couldn't help being what she was: "Less sense than God gave a goose" as Daddy always said. Mom always castigated him for saying that, but even Katy-Ann could tell that her heart wasn't really in it.

And Katy-Ann was serious about not going all the way. She had given her word in front of God and her parents that she would save herself for marriage, and she was a woman of her word. But sometimes that vow seemed very far away, especially when Jack was around.

She shook herself, trying to concentrate on Great Aunt Martha's latest ramble. Two weeks ago, at a sleep-over, some of her girlfriends at Youth Group had started chatting about ways a girl could be bad with a boy without losing her virginity. One of them had even read from a book that told all about it. At first, Katy-Ann had been too shocked to say anything, then too intrigued to walk away. It all sounded disgusting, but at the same time . . .

She shook herself, trying to return to the moment. Great Aunt Martha burbled away, not even noticing that he audience wasn't even listening. Then Katy-Ann stiffened.

A chill spread from the secret place in her mind, that place that she didn't dare talk about to even her closest friends. She didn't trust what it was, but she knew it was a warning.

She bit her lip. "Excuse me, Auntie Martha," she said, standing up. The old woman, absorbed in her current photograph, didn't notice.

Katy-Ann quickly went over to her Mom, who was sitting in the chair opposite.

"May I be excused?" she whispered in her mother's ear. "I think I heard someone calling me on my cellphone."

"No, you may not," Mom said, not unkindly. The tall, redheaded woman looked like she was about to kill for a scotch-and-soda. "Your father and your other siblings managed to sidle out of this one, but I'm not suffering through this visit alone." They didn't have to worry about Great Aunt Martha overhearing; she was profoundly deaf.

"Please." Katy-Ann placed her hand on her mother's. "I need to check my voice mail. It might be important."

"Sorry, dear," Katy-Ann's mother said. "Misery needs company. Now go sit down next to your Great Aunt and treat her with respect. It's only half-an-hour more, and you know she loves you."

"Okay," Katy-Ann said, steeling herself.

"Thanks, sweetie," Her mother whispered, giving her hand a comforting squeeze. "I'm very proud of you."

Katy-Ann sat down next to her Great Aunt, trying to look placid and interested, while her mind raced. The chill in that secret part of her mind grew. Something was very wrong.

* * *

Pepito licked his chops, saliva drooling from his fangs. His red eyes glinted with hunger and rage. The stupid human was so close, a sitting target even. All it would take was one single rush, and Pepito could feast. His empty belly rumbled; he was sure he could even finish this tall gangly male in two, possibly three, meals.

"Find the girl, destroy the girl!" Pepito could feel the geas Azrael44 had placed upon him preying on his mind, forcing him away from even satisfying the primal needs of his body. Soundlessly snarling, he slunk away from the oblivious human, his nose to the floor, trying to find her scent.

It had been a terrible three months for the chihuahua. Azrael had saved Pepito from the lustful clutches of the Redneck Treants, who had inflicted unspeakable agonies and humiliations on the Great Latin Lover. It had taken him forever to get the sap out of his fur. But the price for that rescue had been terrible.

Pepito now had to hunt down the young girl, the one who had once been the earthly avatar of Dread Cthulhu. Yes, Cthulhu's influence had recently been purged from the child, but Hell wasn't taking any chances. The mad prince of this world could re-assert control, and so this girl, this Lisa, had to die.

And Pepito was the one charged with murdering her. Forsaking all pleasures and needs (save for the ones that kept body and soul together), the chihuahua had followed her scent, which had led him to this school. He had not had a lover in far too long. In desperation, he had molested a water fountain but even that was little help.

Even now, the urge in Pepito's mind pulled at him, forcing him to discover where her scent was strongest, most recent. He padded down a set of concrete stairs, trying to discern her spoor through the haze of industrial disinfectant. He wandered along the darkened corridor, his claws clacking on the floor, a tiny shadow in the gloom.

For a moment, he stopped at a locked door. Was that a ticking sound he heard? No, it couldn't be. The geas, the whispering in his mind, returned in full force. He had to find her scent, he had to hunt her down. Pepito moved on, the geas driving him to the limits of his body, his mind, his soul.

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Postby JerrBear » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:05 pm

All he could do was walk. Katy-Ann hadn't called back yet and he was getting impatient. Jack wondered what was taking her so long. It had to be something important because she always returned her calls as soon as she had the chance. He turned another corner and continued walking.

The teenager stopped. He swore he had just heard something in the girl's locker room. For a minute, he debated whether he should investigate or not. Curiosity won him over. The boy slowly opened the door and snuck in.

* * * *

The Great Latin Lover squealed with joy. He had found the Holy Grail! The Ark of the Covenant! Blackbeard's treasure!

An open locker full of teenage girl panties!

Pepito dived into the pile with gusto and glee. They even smelled like that girl he had almost seduced in the Shadow Woods! Memories of the beating she gave him made him flinch. Like the Redneck Treants, they haunted his dreams. He'd have to find her after his mission and pay her back. The Chihuahua pulled a pair over his head and wriggled around some more. The purple panties were silky and soft on the dog's fur.

* * * *

Jack had to stifle a laugh when he saw the Chihuahua tangled in a mess of panties. He wondered how a dog had gotten into the school to begin with. The pitiful thing seemed to be stuck in the underwear. He even had a pair on his enormous head!

The teen approached the dog. "Aww! Let me untangle you!" he said in a mock baby-talk tone, reaching for the dog.

Pepito turned his head toward the human and growled. His eyes glowed red as he chomped down on Jack's hand, biting off his ring finger!

Jack screamed and clutched his hand, falling backwards. The dog ran at Jack, fangs bared. The boy looked up and kicked his right foot into the dog's head, launching him across the room! Pepito hit the floor hard and yelped. He quickly scurried away.

The teenager clutched his hand and grunted in pain, blood spurting from where his finger once was. "FUCK! What the FUCK!?" he yelled at no one.

* * * *
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Postby Stratburst » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:36 am

"Shit, shit, shit!" Jack rolled on the floor, clutching his left hand, trying to stop the blood spurting from the stump of his ring finger. In the middle of the pile of panties, he noticed a hair elastic. Letting the stump spurt more blood onto the floor, he grabbed the elastic and one of Penny's panties, using it as a crude bandage and tourniquet. The pressure slowed the bleeding, but he was light-headed from the loss of blood. The pink cloth quickly turned dark.

Jack stumbled to his feet, leaning against the bank of lockers. He had to get to his backpack; he had some duct tape and an old t-shirt back there. He stumbled into the hall, weaving from blood loss. He pushed his way through the double doors, the door swinging against the wall with a clang. He grasped the railing for balance, slowly hauling himself up the stairs. He felt weak, dizzy, the stairwell shifting in and out of focus. Now all he needed to do was get back to his backpack before that psychotic chihuahua attacked him again. He snorted. Knowing his luck, the damn thing probably had rabies.

In the middle of the girls' locker room, Jack's severed finger lay in a pool of panties and blood.

* * *

Pepito shuddered with ecstasy. He hadn't been able to eat the boy's finger, but the taste of blood was enough to awaken his deeper instincts. He hadn't eaten in days, his stomach growled from lack of hunger. Forget his orders; he had to eat something. Or someone. The pressure of the geas was a dull buzz in his skull, but older needs had taken over now. He slunk out of the bathroom, and quickly found the trail of blood the stupid human had left behind.

Pepito bared his fangs, heedless of the purple thong still hanging around his neck. He had wounded his prey. Now it was time to move in for the kill.

* * *

Jack sobbed with relief, tracks of tears making dark smudges on his cheeks. He had finally stopped the bleeding. The shreds of white t-shirt wrapped around what was left of his ring finger was dark with blood, but nothing seeped through to drip onto the floor. He wrapped several strips of duct tape around the improvised bandage, holding it in place. The silver tape held it down.

He leaned against the locker, closing his eyes momentarily. Okay. He had stopped the bleeding, now he had to call for help.

He hit the redial button on his phone, trying to reach Katy-Ann again.

"Hi, this is Katy-Ann's voice mail." Jack tried not to swear when he heard her answering machine message again. "I can't come to the phone right now, but leave a message after the tone and I'll call you back as soon as possible. Oh, and you can also tell me your favourite Jello flavour. Unless it's lime, you sick freak. Bye." *BEEP*

"Katy-Ann," he started. "Please, call me as soon as you get this. I'm trapped in the school and I just got attacked by this psychotic chihuahua. Please, call the cops, get your ass over here, you gotta help me–"

Jack threw himself to the floor, the instinctive move saving his life. His snarl sounding like ripping paper, Pepito flew through the air, narrowly missing Jack's head. The cellphone slid along the floor, rebounding off the trunk of the water fountain. Claws scrabbled on the linoleum floor, Pepito's eyes glowed a hellish red as he tried to orient himself for another attack.

Jack regained his feet, holding his blue backpack in his left hand. He gulped when he saw the chihuahua's blazing eyes in the darkness.

"Bad dog!" he yelled, trying to overcome his fear with bluster. "Bad dog! Sit! Heel!"

The chihuahua sidled along the wall, and nuzzled Jack's phone. The teenager inched forward, trying to use the dog's distraction to try and kick it again. The dog looked up, the cellphone now clamped between its jaws.

"Drop the phone," Jack said. "Drop the phone, please."

Pepito grinned. He bit down. The cellphone splintered and broke, bits falling to the floor, useless.

"Oh shit," Jack whispered.

Spitting out the last bits of plastic, the dog charged, snarling continuously. Jack swung his backpack, trying to smack the thing. Pepito grabbed the bottom of the bag in his jaws, trying to rip the bag from Jack's hands.

Jack hung on for dear life. This dog was stronger than it looked. He felt weak, dizzy. Part of him wanted to give up, to lie down, accept what was going to happen. But a stronger part fought back, fought to stay alive. He snarled in his turn. This thing wasn't gonna get him without a fight!

He smacked his backpack against the lockers, trying to knock the dog off. Its body clanged hollowly against the locker door, Pepito whined in pain, but hung on. Digging its paws into the locker vents, it pulled back, throwing Jack off balance.

Jack stumbled into the middle of the hall, saving himself from collapsing into the canine buzzsaw with an effort. He tripped, falling on his hip.

With a snarl of triumph, the demonic chihuahua leaped from the backpack, leaping at Jack's throat. With a strength born of desperation, Jack punched at the thing with his right fist. It connected.

Pepito screamed. Jack heard a sizzling sound, and the sweet stench of cooked meat. The dog fell to the floor, writhing in agony. Flesh darkened and curled on the chihuahua's jaw, smoke rising from where Jack's fist had connected.

"Eeeet burrnnsss!" Pepito squealed. "Eeet burrrrnnnss ussss!"

"Holy shit!" Jack whispered, too stunned to run. "It talks?"

"You must have touched Her," Pepito snarled. "You have been with Her!"

(To be continued . . . )
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Postby JerrBear » Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:47 pm

Jack sighed in relief as the dog ran away. He tried to stand up, but felt a wave of dizziness hit him instead. Leaning back against a locker, he tried to remember what that nurse had told him about blood loss back when he had to donate blood for his brother's appendix removal. Something about food if he recalled correctly.

It may not solve the problem, but it doesn't hurt to try, he thought as he started crawling toward the school cafeteria. Even a small amount of strength might help if that talking Chihuahua attacked again.

The teenager wondered who the dog was talking about. The only girl he had touched that day was Katy-Ann. Could she have done something to him somehow? How was she involved with that dog? She had always been mysterious to him. That was part of her appeal. Now she had become even more mysterious.

* * * *

Pepito flinched when he saw his disfigured face in the mirror. How was the Great Latin Lover to seduce women with this kind of disfigurement? The burn almost covered half of his face!

That boy had touched Her! He knew for certain that some parts hadn't been in contact with Her, considering he had bitten off one of the boy's fingers. But what other parts? Now he had to take caution when hunting his prey.

* * * *
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Postby Stratburst » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:15 pm

Katy-Ann walked into her bedroom and shut the door. She always did that whenever she was in her room, but now more than ever. She walked to her walk-in closet and searched for her Fluevog shoes. Great Aunt Martha wanted Dad to take her home and, wouldn't you know it, she wanted Katy-Ann to ride in the car with her. Katy-Ann let out an exasperated breath; it had taken everything she had to remain polite when speaking with her more-than-slightly crazy, borderline offensive great aunt.

"Martha wasn't always like that, Katy-Ann. Sure, she was never the sharpest knife in the drawer but she was a very sweet, generous girl once upon a time."

Gritting her teeth, Katy-Ann continued searching through her closet. Now was not the time for this, and where the heck were those shoes, darn it! She had some others down by the front hall, but the Fluevogs were a lot more comfortable, and worked better with her outfit. She deliberately did not look at the floor length mirror at the other end of her room.

"Hello. I know you can hear me."

Katy-Ann gave up on the shoes. She grabbed her brown suede jacket and threw it on, hunting for her purse.

"Your purse is on the floor, next to the night table. Now are you going to acknowledge my presence?"

Katy-Ann whirled towards the mirror. "Go away!" she hissed at the mirror. "You don't exist!"

The young woman standing in the mirror was unfazed. "I think I do," she replied. There was a strong resemblance to Katy-Ann, especially around the eyes and smile. "Wasn't it René Descartes who said, 'I think therefore I am'? Or maybe that Monty Python group: 'I drink therefore–"

"I don't have time for this!" Katy-Ann said in a stage whisper. "I have to go!" She grabbed her purse and turned to walk out the door.

"Jack needs your help."

Katy-Ann stopped, and slowly turned around. "You are a figment of my imagination," she said slowly and carefully. "You don't exist. You're just a voice in my head. That's all you are. That's all you'll ever be."

The woman looked sorrowful. "Katy-Ann, why are you doing this to yourself? Just because you're the only person who can see or hear me doesn't mean that you're crazy. You know you're sane, your parents and friends know you're sane, accept the fact that I exist and deal with it. You have to get over this. I need you. Heaven needs you. Jack needs you."

"What does Jack have to do with this?"

Right on cue, Katy-Ann's cellphone rang. She pulled it from her purse, and flipped it open, looking at the name on her call display.

"Hello, Mrs– I mean, Susan," she quickly corrected herself. "No, I haven't heard from Jack, is he okay?" Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the message icon blinking on her phone.

"You haven't seen or heard from him all night and his cellphone's not responding? Hang on." Putting her hand over the mouthpiece, she turned towards the woman in the mirror. "Cassie, what do you know about Jack?" she demanded of the woman in the mirror.

"Hell sent an assassin to take out a woman who was under an evil force, one that even Hell feared," Cassie said soberly. "Thanks to some unexpected intervention, the evil was removed from this woman but Hell still wants to destroy her. Now Jack is trapped in your school, along with this assassin. He's in very great danger. We need you to join us, Katy-Ann. Hell has its emissary on Earth now; Heaven needs you to represent it in this matter."

"No." Katy-Ann shook her head. "You can't make me do this–"

"I can't make you do anything you don't want to do," Cassie replied. "But you'll need to join us body and soul if you want to save Jack. You know what to say: 'I am the handmaid of the Lord–"

"No way!" Katy-Ann uncovered the mouthpiece and talked into the phone again. "Have you called the police, Susan? They'll need someone to get into the school? Yes, I have a key . . . okay, I'll go have a look. No problem, I'll call you as soon as I find him. Bye." She closed the phone and dropped it into her purse.

"Katy-Ann . . ."

"No!" She realized she was shouting, then calmed down. "I'll go to the school, and find Jack. He'll be fine, I'll be fine, I don't need to do anything okay, Cassie? I gotta go; Dad and Great Aunt Martha are waiting for me." She turned for the door.

"Katy-Ann . . ."


"Your Fluevogs are next to the dresser."

"Thanks." She bent down and picked up her shoes. "Now I really have to go. See ya."

"I'll be close if you need me," Cassie said.

Katy-Ann bit down her first response. "Okay," she said instead. "I'll see you later." She ran out the door, still carrying her shoes.

Cassie still stood in the mirror, conflicting emotions chasing each other across her face.

"You didn't tell her everything," another voice said from inside the mirror.

"She's not ready to hear it yet," Cassie said sadly.

"You cannot help her out in the mortal world, Cassie," the male voice said. "Your time there is done. Katy-Ann is on her own, with only Jack to help her against that thing."

"Maybe," Cassie allowed. "Maybe not." She slowly faded from view. "There are a lot of mirrors out there . . ." and she was gone.

* * *


(To be continued . . .)
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Postby Stratburst » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:39 am


Jack checked out the washroom. It was all-clear; no sign of that man-eating chihuahua. He locked the door and slid down onto the tiled floor, his head still swimming from blood loss. He let out a slow breath, allowing the stress and fear to escape.

"Okay, I'm trapped in the school, and a talking dog wants to eat me alive," Jack said. "I'm missing a finger, and I've lost a lot of blood.

"So what are my pluses?" Jack asked himself. "Number one, I'm alive. Number two, I have some food and there's a locked door between me and that dog." He opened his backpack and pulled out a large bottle of lemon-lime Gatorade. "Number three, it seems to be allergic to my right hand."

He flexed it, wondering what the hell had happened. That chihuahua had taken a finger off his left hand (thankfully the bleeding had finally stopped), but punching the thing with his right hand had burned it. What was going on?

Still pondering, Jack ripped open a Slim Jim and started munching the stick of preserved meat, holding it in his left hand. He had blown all his change on a nearby vending machine, grabbing anything that had any claim to being healthy. Granted, it was stuff like Slim Jims, chocolate bars and Gatorade, but it was the best he could do. He didn't dare go near the cafeteria, since it was too close to where he had last tangled with that dog.

"Time is now . . . 11 pm," he told himself, checking his watch. He finished his Slim Jim, opened another. "All I have to do is hold out for . . ." He sipped his Gatorade, trying to force his brain to function. "Seven hours before one of the custodians shows up. That is, unless Katy-Ann got my message and she's coming to get me . . . oh shit."

Jack leaped to his feet, spilling his drink. Katy-Ann didn't know about that little monster, and she could be coming here at any time! That thing would rip her apart! He had to do something! But what?

"Think, think," Jack told himself. "You can't just go charging out there. It'll rip you apart." He stopped, just before turning the lock on the bathroom door. What had that thing said when Jack burned it?

""You must have touched Her," he whispered. "You have been with Her! But who the Hell is 'Her'?"

It couldn't have been Mom. Mom had given him her usual hug when he left for school yesterday morning, but she had touched both his hands. Other than that, he hadn't touched any other woman. Who could have . . .

Hold on . . . the memory came back with stunning clarity. It was earlier that day, he had been slotting gels into stage lights, with Katy-Ann holding the ladder steady. Stan had come out of the dressing room, doing his usual "schmooze" routine, trying to get Katy-Ann into Stan's new "private party" scene, which Katy-Ann had seemed less-than-impressed with. And as Jack had come down the ladder after inserting the gels, Katy-Ann had put out a helping hand. Jack, hardly daring to hope, had . . . touched his right hand to hers.

He closed his eyes with the memory. For a split second, he had been terrified that his hand would be dirty and wet with sweat, that it would gross her out. But that thought was drowned with the pleasure as they had touched. Then Jack's discomfort was replaced with shock, when he realized that Katy-Ann's hand was sweaty as well! She was nervous! She wasn't as calm and mature as she seemed!

Their eyes had locked for two seconds, Jack drowning in those blue depths. Katy-Ann had blushed and looked away, but she had kept on holding his hand. It was only when Jack reached to fold the ladder that she had taken her hand from his. They had deliberately talked about other things for the rest of the day, but Jack had treasured the feel of her cool, sweaty hand in his, the way her long fingers curled around the edge of his palm as if they were meant to always be there, those blue eyes that were almost too beautiful to be real. He hadn't washed his hands all day, just in case he washed away the feel of her as well.

"It's Katy-Ann," he said, frowning as he said it. "That dog is somehow allergic to Katy-Ann."

Okay, he didn't understand how that could be possible, but that made things easier. All he would have to do would be to wait until Katy-Ann arrived, then make sure he got to her in time. Jack snorted: this was one time he had absolutely no problem with hiding behind a girl.

A noise made him look up. Something was scrabbling inside the ventilation shaft overhead. Jack suddenly grew cold; sweat beaded his forehead. It sounded like the click of claws, like something small was wandering around in the ventilation. Jack sidled towards the wall, as far away as possible from whatever was in there. He gulped, feeling like his heart was about to explode from his chest. Through the vents, he could hear laboured breathing, something softly swearing in Spanish. The scrabbling sound grew louder, faster.

A panel blew out from the wall. Snarling, Pepito leaped from the ventilation shaft, directly at Jack, his red eyes glowing in the dim light. Jack screamed, throwing the Slim Jim at the dog to distract it. He grabbed the backpack, reaching for the locked door to try and wrench it open.

A chomping sound made him turn. The demonic chihuahua was biting down on the Slim Jim, while looking up at him.

"You geeve me food?" Pepito said thickly, his mouth full of meat. "Hokay. I let you leeve."

(To be continued . . .)
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Postby Stratburst » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:02 am

"What the–" Jack started. He put his back to the door, his hand scrabbling for the lock.

Pepito looked up. "I'm steell hungry. Do you have any more food, pleese?"

Despite himself, Jack nodded. "Sure," he said, pulling out another Slim Jim and ripping off the plastic wrapper. "Here you go." He tossed it towards the little dog.

Pepito caught it with his teeth. "Thanks," he said thickly, spraying saliva and meat chunks everywhere. "Eet's hokay," he continued. "You feed me, I no keell you now."

"Thanks," Jack said dubiously, wondering what to say to the chihuahua. 'So, you can talk,' didn't seem like the best opening line of all time. He watched as the little dog gnawed on the stick of preserved meat

"So, why are you here?" Jack finally asked.

Pepito looked up. "I'm looking for someone," he replied, still chewing.


"An avatar."

"Try watching Nickelodeon," Jack nearly said aloud. "An avatar of what?" he asked instead.

"She used to be an avatar of Cthulhu," Pepito replied.

Jack opened his mouth, then closed it. "Cthulhu doesn't exist," he was about to say. "Then again, neither do talking chihuahuas, so that theory's shot to hell."

"So why is that a big deal?"

Pepito looked at him scornfully. "Don't ju know anytheeng? Cthulhu ees the creator of thees world, the true ruler, may he never return."

"I thought God created the world."

Pepito nearly choked on his Slim Jim. "Ha! He weeshes! No, he came much later, after the other Bright Ones locked Cthulhu into R'lyeh and baneeshed eet to another dimension."

"Who?" Jack slid to the floor, enthralled despite himself. He pulled out a Mars bar, and began eating it.

"What ees that?" Pepito's head went up. He glared at the chocolate bar with red eyes, saliva dripping from his lips. "Ees eet good to eat?"

"It's chocolate," Jack said. "You shouldn't have any. It'll make you sick."

"Ees that so?" Pepito went back to his Slim Jim. "Peety."

"So, what's this about Cthulhu creating the world?" Jack asked.

"There are nine worlds een thees dimension that can support life," Pepito said. "Cthulhu created thees one, but he went crazy for power. He made you humans do nasty theengs to each other for hees amusement, and you deed eet because he was your master. You couldn't disobey heem more than you could stop breathing.

That didn't matter to the other Bright Ones, but then Cthulhu decided he wanted to conquer other worlds so he could have more worshippers. That's when the Bright Ones, the other 8 world makers, banded together to fight him, lock him eento hees necropolis of R'lyeh, and baneesh heem to another dimension."

"But what about Heaven and Hell?" Jack asked.

"Those came later," Pepito said dismissively. "The Creator and Deestroyer were just minor powers who worked together and became preences of thees world in the battle after Cthulhu disappeared. At first, the two agreed to share power: the one created, the other destroyed, and everytheeng was een balance.

"But the Creator became greedy, and wanted more power, to make more theengs that he could control. The Deestroyer tried to stop the Creator, but, like Cthulhu, the Creator was mad with the lust for power. They would have fought, but they queekly realized that their battle would deestroy the world. That's when they made other creatures to fight their battles for them."

"And that's all that Heaven and Hell are? Sides in this battle?"

Pepito nodded. "Hell eesn't Ultimate Evil any more than Heaven ees Ultimate Good. Eet's all a lie, an excuse to fight. When humans say, 'The Devil made me do eet'? Don't make me laugh. Eet's all you; because you were created by Cthulhu and Cthulhu was a monster. He ees true evil." Pepito shuddered. "No one wants heem to return."

"So there's an avatar of Cthulhu running around right now?"

"Was an avatar," Pepito corrected him. "Someone managed to remove hees influence from her, don't ask me how. But We theenk that Cthulhu might still be able to take control of her, so I've been sent to stop her."


Pepito looked up at him and grinned, showing his fangs. A chill ran down Jack's back, answered by a throb of pain where his left ring finger used to be.

"Oh God," Jack whispered.

"No," Pepito sneered. The fist-shaped burn mark on jaw pulled at his face, making him look hideous in the fluorescent light. "That weemp is too weak; he wants to keep her alive. I say, keell her before Cthulhu has another chance."

Jack nodded. "That makes sense. Does this avatar have a name?"

* * *

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Postby JerrBear » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:48 am

Charlotte's eyes opened wide as she woke up. She has a key! she thought to herself as she kicked the covers off. The girl wiped sweat from her forehead and grabbed one of her long skirts off of the floor. As she slipped out of her black long-sleeved nightgown she hoped it was not too late to stop Katy-Ann from getting to the school. If Jack had a cell phone, he most likely called her. How was the whore to learn her lesson if her boyfriend didn't die?

Slipping on a sweater, she formulated a plan. All she had to do was make it look like one of the tires on Katy-Ann's car had hit a nail. That's if she hadn't already left for Jack. If she had, Charlotte knew she needed to think of a Plan B.

As she put her cross on, she saw something in the corner of her eye. Her eyes widened when she saw the angelic form in her dresser mirror. The man stood tall, wearing a white long coat and white dress slacks. He had smooth skin and long black hair. His golden eyes peered deep into her soul. Charlotte felt the need to bow to this Servant of God. Instead, she fell to her knees and began praying.

The man stepped out of her mirror, his boots making no sound on the floor. He flexed his red wings as he touched a hand to her cheek. "Heaven needs you, Charlotte."

Charlotte almost fainted right there. She composed herself and bowed her head more. She knew she was doing God's work! "W-What is your name, sir?" she stuttered.

"Azrael44," he offered.

A chill ran through her body as she dared to look into his eyes once more. She felt herself becoming flushed and apologized to him. Azrael scolded her for her lust, inwardly smiling at how easy she was to manipulate. "What does He need me for?" she asked.

"Do not question God's will!" he hissed, causing her to cower.

Azrael's expression softened. He decided to go with a half-truth. "The whore, Katy-Ann, seeks to stop a fellow Servant from killing the Avatar of a Great Evil known as Chthulhu," he began, "The Lord wishes you to stop her. We know of what you are doing and commend your actions."

Charlotte smiled, "I was just on my way to her house, if it's not too late I can cut her brake lines instead of what I planned to do."

Azrael also smiled, "It's too late for that but you can get to the school before she does."

He materialized behind her and whispered in her ear. "You will lock her in. Imagine the message it will send, Charlotte. Not only will you have proved her way was false, you will send a message to teenagers that pre-marital sex will lead to damnation! That is why she is there now. Does it not disgust you?"

"I will do as you command sir."

* * * *
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Postby Stratburst » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:36 am

A sudden rainstorm lashed the darkened streets. Trees groaned as they swayed, branches ripped from their trunks by the howling wind.

Katy-Ann clutched the steering wheel in the approved 10 and two o' clock position, trying to peer through the rain as the wipers smacked the drops away from her Kia's windshield. Her thoughts pulsed in time to the whipping wipers: Jack's in trouble. Jack's in trouble. Jack's in trouble . . .

She had made her excuses to her dad and Great-Aunt Martha, saying something about a friend who needed her help. Katy-Ann knew she was a lousy liar; she had always pursued honesty as the best policy. But how could she tell the truth? Someone in her mirror had told her that Jack was in trouble? And that someone . . . a woman who had died before Katy-Ann had even been born?

To her right, she saw a pair of figures climbing over the cemetery fence. Lightning flashed, illuminating the pale face, black lipstick and running mascara on one of the two men. Katy-Ann briefly considered offering them a lift but decided against it. Whatever they were up to in the cemetery was their business. She only hoped they were smart enough to head towards Sadie's Soda Shoppe, the only place that was still open this late at night.

Up ahead, the dark bulk of the school was a darker shadow against the night. Only a few lights twinkled in the windows.

Katy-Ann parked the car in the lot behind the school, putting it as close to the side doors as she could manage. She pulled the key from the ignition, the rain already sheeting on the Kia's windshield. Once again, she tried calling Jack's cellphone.

No answer. It went straight to voice mail. She flipped it closed; she had already left one message telling him she was coming. She popped the phone in her pocket, grabbed the heavy Mag-Lite under the seat, and opened the door.

The rain slammed into her. Katy-Ann clung to the car for several seconds, trying to recover from the blast of water. She peered into the gloom, trying to orient herself. She held the Mag-Lite in her right hand, the other hand in her pocket, clutching her keyring.

She ran towards the school doors, a constant wind whipping against her, forcing her off balance. She stumbled up the steps, the low wall giving her some protection against the storm. She stopped there for a few seconds, trying to catch her breath. In the parking lot, she could see her new Kia swaying in the howling wind.

An inhuman snarl echoed in her left ear. Katy-Ann whipped the Mag-Lite around, using it as a club. There was no one there; only the rain battering the brick and concrete.

Katy-Ann started towards the double doors, holding the school key in her right hand. The wind and rain hammered into her, making her run more of a drunkard's lurch. She slammed into the door, the alcove lessening the impact of the storm.

The key fitted easily into the lock. The door opened.

Katy-Ann slipped inside, the door closing with a hollow clang. She walked inside, turning on her flashlight to illuminate the darkened hallway. Her shoes echoed on the tiled floor, the smell of industrial cleanser in her nostrils.

"Jack?" she called. "Are you there?"

Something gleamed on the floor in front of her. Kneeling, Katy-Ann examined the droplets more carefully. She didn't need to see the red glow in the glare of her flashlight; her nostrils immediately caught the iron tang of blood. Her heart hammering in her chest, she spotted the trail of blood drops leading down the hall. A cold sweat beaded her forehead. She knew whose blood this was. She stood up, her flashlight shaking in her hand. She had to follow the bloody trail. She had to know.

The beam glancing off a trophy case made an impromptu mirror. A familiar figure stood in the gleam.

"We've made a mistake, dear Katy-Ann." Cassie's face was white with horror. "You have to get out of here. Now."

* * *

Charlotte got down on her knees. She was soaked to the skin, but her brown eyes gleamed with triumph. Yes, she had been far too late to stop the Whore from arriving at the school, but she had seen her going inside, going to meet with her paramour to commit whatever disgusting sodomies those two perpetrated whenever they were together. But how to keep her in there so the bomb she had placed in the sub-basement could do its work?

"O' Azrael," Charlotte prayed. "Please help thy humble servant carry out Thy Master's bidding. Please help me to trap that Godless Bitch in the school so that she may meet the punishment she so richly deserves."

Azrael44 stepped out from behind a tree, the raindrops hissing as they landed on him. "You have done well, my young apprentice," he said, his eyes gleaming. He laid his hand in a benediction on her head. "Give me your hands."

Her face alight with pious joy, Charlotte raised her hands and placed them between the angel's. He clasped her hands in his, the unexpected warmth spreading through her. Azrael smiled down at her, causing her knees to become weak. "Do this one thing for me, and your reward will be . . . wondrous."

"I-I-I desire . . . no reward," Charlotte said tremulously, a forbidden glow emanating from her loins. "Just the chance to . . . serve."

"Oh, I have no doubt that you will serve," Azrael's teeth were bright in the darkness. "And you will receive a service, in turn." A long finger brushed her cheek, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. Charlotte's body shaking now, from mingled fear and desire.

Charlotte's hands were glowing with a sickly green light. She looked down at them, stunned.

"Place them against all the doors in this school, and they will fuse together," Azrael instructed. "No key or torch will be able to undo them until your device has had a chance to do its work. But you must do this quickly, before the bitch has a chance to use her key to open any of the other doors. Is that understood?"

"Yes, my Master," Charlotte said, still staring at her glowing hands.

"Excellent." Azrael smiled down at her again, a secret smile, an almost . . . lustful smile. Charlotte's body quivered for his touch, for his . . . her mind shied away from that thought.

He stiffened, breaking the mood. "She knows!" His face was briefly hideous in the dim light. "Go! Quickly! Trap her in there!"

"Yes, Master." And Charlotte was running towards the school.

Azrael waited until she was gone, then stepped towards a puddle. He looked down at it, the rain still hissing on his body.

"Screwtape, I am ready to return," he said formally.

"This is Screwtape, Lord of the Files." A hideous face appeared in the puddle. "You have completed your task, Azrael?"

"It will be completed."

"The Master does not approve of you using the girl to do your dirty work, Azrael," Screwtape said. "He had plans for her."

"The Master's orders specifically said, 'Use whatever tools come to hand,'" Azrael said coolly. "She was the most convenient instrument. Besides, the Master will be able to more easily indulge his perversions upon her. She has been . . . prepared."

"And if she doesn't survive? You failure stirs my . . . affections." Screwtape licked his lips significantly.

Azrael's face didn't betray the quaking terror the senior demon's words aroused in him. "There are plenty of other females who would be willing," he said indifferently. "They won't be hard to find."

"Let us hope so. For your sake. The portal is open, Azrael. You may return."

"I shall." Azrael stepped into the puddle. There was a flash of red light, the stench of burnt sulphur, and he was gone.

(To be continued . . .)
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