Do you ever get the feeling that you're simply gone? It's like being dead, or maybe just invisible. You walk along the streets, see hundreds of people every day, and know that not a single one of them will care whether you live or die. I have an excuse for why I feel this way, however. I am dead. Legally, that is. Physically, I'm not so lucky. But if you type my name into any internet search engine, a picture of my smiling face will pop up, with a tidy little article alongside it. It reads something like this:
Lily Elise Jensen. January 3, 1989 - October 31, 2005. Lily was a bright, young, sparkling, kind-hearted, beautiful, shining, (insert other sappy adjectives here) overachiever of a girl whose life was tragically cut short by a mysterious house fire that didn't even leave behind dental records. She was survived by her twin sister and her parents. Oh wait, never mind. They died too.
Okay, so those may not be the exact words of that article, but my point remains the same. I'm dead. I've been dead for five years now. And if I say so myself, I look pretty darn good for a zombie. But there are some advantages to being dead. I'm invisible. I have no ties to anyone or anything. The IRS will never be on my tail, and I hardly doubt my fingerprints are in any systems. Of course, I can't be too careful. As long as no one ever finds out that I'm still alive, I'm free - free to keep hunting until those things are dead. Is this revenge? Not really. It's nothing that simple. Is this something to do to keep my mind off what happened to my family? Maybe. Like I'd tell you either way. Am I lonely, living my life as one of the walking dead? Nope. Do I wish I'd died along with everyone else? Sometimes. Is this just an excuse to channel my rage on all the monsters out there that deserve to die? Probably. What will I do when I fight the scum that did this to me? Well, that's for me to know and you to find out. Just let me say that I have some plans, and none of them involve having heart to heart conversations over a cup of tea.
You see, it wasn't a fire that took my family away from me. It was something far worse. If I hadn't seen those broken, soulless eyes myself, I would've never believed they even existed. But the things that tore me apart, made me scream, haunted me; they aren't human. Demons are real. They're everywhere. And now that I've met them face to face, I can see them. Their ugly mugs are far different than the painted, smiling masks humans usually use to cover their faces. Demons don't care. They show anger in their empty eyes, devoid of anything close to a soul. Some can pretend for a while, make you believe that they're human. They worm their way into your chest cavity and nestle right up next to your heart, growing more difficult to remove with every beat. Eventually, you have to tear them out, but they always take a piece of you with them. Those are the dangerous ones, but sooner or later, their disguises slip away and I slay them just like the rest.
I'm a hunter, and over the past five years, I've become quiet efficient. I can't count how many demons have died at my hands. I also can't count how many times I've come close to dying and finally making the words of that obituary come true. But it never happens. If I die before I finish this job, so be it. I'm going to take as many of them as I can with me as I head downstairs. My goal is to finish this, though. I want my family to rest in peace, I want their murderers dead.
I am invisible to no one, but nonexistent to everyone. I will kill the demons who destroyed my family, even if I have to march down to hell to find them.
My name is Lily Elise Jensen, and I died on October 31, 2005.
"Sorry, Chris," I whispered as I drew my dagger. My footsteps were nearly silent as I stealthily sidled toward my target, a grin on my face. Poor sap would never even know what hit him, if everything went as planned.
Sadistic as it may sound, the hunt had always been my favorite part of this whole demon-slaying business. There was a strange satisfaction in finally being able to strike after days of watching, lurking, stalking until you were one hundred percent sure that your prey was what you really thought it was.
Chris, as this demon's living, breathing vehicle was called, had me uncertain at first. His bright blue eyes were empty, but something in his gentle smile almost convinced me that he was human. Yet when I saw him alone, when he thought no one was watching him, I saw his disguise slip. He was no more human than the concrete beneath my feet. And now, in the home where he had murdered his parents, he would die.
At his front porch, Chris paused, glancing around as if he somehow sensed my presence. He looked toward the dark street, his blank eyes reflecting the headlights of a single car that rolled down the road before fading into the distance. With a shrug, he pulled out his keys and began to unlock his front door.
Without any hesitation, I leapt from my hiding spot under his neighbor's porch and charged toward my prey. Sacrificing stealth for speed, I bounded up the stairs behind Chris just as he opened his front door. Dagger readying to strike, I threw myself at him, tackling him into the house and slamming the door behind us before he could even move.
With inhuman agility, he got back to his feet. His blue eyes blazed with rage as he whirled toward me, a feral growl on his lips. He grabbed me my the wrist and heaved, catapulting me across the room.
I slammed into a wall and fell to the floor, my dagger clattering to the ground at my side. With a quiet groan, I opened my eyes just in time to see Chris running at me. His lips were curled back like an animal's, and I knew he wouldn't hesitate to kill me. Snatching my dagger, I made a wild slash that nicked his arm just before he reached me. With a howl, he staggered back, holding the sizzling flesh on his arm.
"Consecrated iron, Chris," I said with a grin as I got to my feet, twirling my dagger between my fingers.
Terror flashed through his eyes for just a moment. Just because he was a demon didn't mean he had no survival instinct. He spun on his heel and fled toward the door.
"You can't run, Chris." With a quick sigh, I tossed my dagger from my right hand to my left and threw. The blade sunk into the flesh on the back of his knee. With an unearthly howl, he fell forward, slamming face first into the door.
I dashed to his prone body, turning him face up and straddling his chest. I grabbed my dagger and pressed it to his throat. His skin sizzled beneath the cold metal.
"You killed this boy's parents, Chris," I whispered, leaning in close to him, seeing myself reflected in his eyes. "I know what you were planning next too. You wanted to kill his little sister, didn't you? I saw you follow her to school yesterday, waiting to strike. You demons always go for the family members first. Good thing she already thinks her brother is dead."
The demon smiled at me, not the gentle smile that had almost tricked me before. It was fierce, fearless, pure evil. The creature didn't even beg for its life, it just grinned at me.
"Sorry, Chris," I said with an equally wicked smile. Closing my eyes, I pressed my dagger deeper into his throat. With one fluid, swift movement, I drew it across his neck. I didn't even flinch as the spray of warm blood splattered my face.
I got to my feet, wiping my dagger on Chris's shirt. His eyes were completely empty now, faded to a dull gray, the same as everyone else who died while possessed by a demon. He looked younger all of a sudden, more human than he had while alive.
"Sorry," I whispered, although it was hard to pity the human who had died along with the demon. He wasn't exactly an innocent victim. He had asked for this. One day, from what I had learned, Chris got sick of his mediocre life. He asked for the same thing so many people asked for. Take away his emptiness, his pain, his sadness. He'd give anything not to feel, not to hurt. I doubt demon possession was what he thought he'd get, but considering who he had been praying to, it wasn't much of a surprise.
In my line of work, I saw far too many teens like Chris with empty eyes, so eager to throw away their emotions, not knowing that their souls would leave with them. Even if some teens didn't ask for freedom from their emotions like Chris, they still made themselves defenseless. They were vulnerable, empty, easy hosts of malevolent demons just itching for a new human suit to walk around in. They might as well walk around wearing shirts with 'possess me' stamped in bold font on the front.
With a sigh, I sheathed my dagger and turned away from the still corpse in front of me. I wiped the blood from my face onto my sleeve, and managed to rinse most of it from my auburn hair. I went to the side door and peered out the window. Once I made sure the coast was clear, I snuck out, my gloved fingers leaving no prints behind. No one would know who had killed Chris. It was another perfect crime. No survivors, no evidence, no witnesses.
"Lily?" came a voice from behind me.
Despite all my intelligence telling me to keep walking, my instincts kicked in and I froze. Blood rushed through my veins, making me feel alive for a brief moment. No one knew me by that name. No one.
"I thought so," continued the voice. "I can't believe I finally found you. Nice work with Chris back there. I was impressed. I forgot you could be so ruthless." The voice was relaxed, calm, confident. He knew who I was. He knew too much.
I mentally cursed myself as I turned to face the stranger, reaching for my dagger. When I met his eyes, I knew. Even in the darkness, I could see that he didn't have the protective mask of a human. I couldn't believe I made such a amateur mistake. I was so sure that Chris had been working alone, and I had even checked to make sure. But now there was another demon standing in front of me, because I wasn't thorough enough. So much for no witnesses.
"What do you want?" I asked, knowing that the demon had the upper hand. Without the element of surprise on my side, I was the vulnerable one. He was far enough away that with his inhuman speed, he could be gone before my dagger would reach him, and then he could return with multitudes of demons. Lovely.
"I just want to talk," he said, raising his hands defensively. "Somewhere more private, preferably."
"Fine," I answered, my arm ready to strike if he made any sudden moves.
"Follow me," he said, and turned toward Chris's house. I followed, trying to close the distance between us so I could strike. Yet he always drew away from me the moment he was in range of my dagger, as if he knew that I was preparing to strike. I suppose my intentions were quite obvious.
Once inside Chris's house again, I closed the door behind us. The house already smelled like blood and death, but at least I knew I didn't have to worry about the homeowner walking in anytime soon.
"So what's this pressing matter you want to talk about before you try to kill me?" I asked, leaning casually against a wall. My eyes never left the demon, who walked slowly toward Chris's body.
"I'm guessing you don't know who I am," sighed the demon, turning toward me.
"Not exactly. I have a pretty good idea of what you are, though." As I spoke, I slowly moved toward the dark haired demon, hoping that I could move into striking range without him noticing.
"Oh, really?" he asked, raising a dark eyebrow in surprise. "No offense, but I'm quite impressed."
"I've seen enough of your kind to pick them out of a crowd, let alone when one comes right up to me. Do you think I'm an idiot?" My words came out as a growl. This demon was even more irritating than the rest.
"Of course I don't think that. You wouldn't have survived this long if you were. And I definitely would've found you sooner."
I rolled my eyes, slowly drawing closer to the demon. "As entertaining as this banter is, could we get down to what you really wanted? I want to get this talk out of the way. I'm not much for conversation, and I have some more demons to kill, starting with you."
He blinked, his dark eyes puzzled. "I'm afraid you're confused. You must have me mistaken for something else." He took a step toward me, and that one step made all the difference.
I leapt toward him and threw him against the wall before he even knew what hit him. I pressed my dagger to his throat, leaning in so close that I could almost see the rage in my green eyes reflected in his.
"I know what you are, demon," I hissed, letting the cold metal of my dagger bite into his neck.
"No you don't, human," he whispered back, his eyes narrowing. "But I know what you are. Or rather, who you are. Don't you want to know how?"
"I don't care about what you have to say, and I don't believe in last words." I took a deep breath, readying myself to kill the creature in front of me.
"Lily Elise Jensen."
Again, I froze. I hadn't heard that name for years. "Shut up and die, you filthy demon," I growled. But my hand hesitated for just a moment. Was this it? Was this the moment I'd been looking forward to for over five years? I had to be sure.
"Don't you wonder how I know that name? I'm not a demon, Lily."
"Yes you are. And I know which demon you are, too. You're one of the ones who killed my family. I've been looking for you for years, and now it turns out you find me. I don't know what kind of reaction you were expecting, but obviously this wasn't it if you've been looking for me."
He smiled, his eyes showing no fear, only curiosity, even amusement. "I understand now. I suppose that theory does make sense, and it does explain how I know your name. But you're missing one important detail."
"What's that?" I growled, digging my knife into his flesh. He didn't flinch, not even when his blood began to spill down his neck.
He rolled his eyes, looking suddenly exasperated. "I don't know, maybe the fact that your dagger, made of pure, consecrated iron, toxic to demons, isn't harming me. Well, other than slicing my skin, that is. Which I'd appreciate if you stopped, by the way."
I bit my lip in surprise. I had been so caught up in my thoughts that I hadn't even realized that my blade wasn't burning him. Every demon, even the most powerful ones, were weak against iron. So what exactly was this creature?
"I know you aren't human," I growled, not removing my knife from his neck. "I can see it in your face. You're not human. You don't hide behind a smile. You're raw. What are you? Tell me the truth, or I'll test and see if decapitation is a valid means of death for whatever you are."
"You won't believe me."
"Try me. Not much surprises me anymore," I muttered, looking into his dark eyes, trying to figure out what he had inside of him where his soul was supposed to be.
"My name is Asher Schwartz, and I'm an ordinary human. At least that's what I tell most people. But you, Lily, get the truth."
"Just spit it out already." My heart was pounding against my ribs, my chest heaving with every breath. If I hadn't been about ready to kill him, I would've thanked him for what he was doing to me. I hadn't felt so alive in years.
"My name is Shaher. I'm an angel of heaven, here to help you kill those bastards who destroyed your family and everything you loved."
[A/N: This is kind of a different venture for me, and is a lot different than what I usually write. Please review, I'd love to hear your first impressions of this story as a whole, Lily, and Asher. Thanks for reading, I'll try to update soon! ~DarkHawk]