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A Demon Made Me Do It

By:Penelope King

’d have caught the Amazèa by now. In bitter silence I fume while Tatiana gives me the details for the night’s assignment, only half-hearing what she’s saying. When she’s done, I storm out of our cabin and into the brisk night air. Pulling my hood over my head, I let out a sharp whistle.

The clomping of hooves sound as the Arabian stallion emerges from his place in the shadows. He nuzzles his nose into my chest and gives a low grunt. I stroke his long ebony neck and press my cheek to his. Then, I grab a chunk of his silky mane and swiftly mount the smooth sway of his back.

“Fly, Diablo,” I whisper and lean forward. He takes off like a shot and we streak toward the forest. Diablo knows the surrounding woods even better than I do, and as he races along the narrow paths I keep my head down to avoid the low-hanging tree branches, my rage growing steadily with each beat of his hooves.

Another night of being trapped.

I hadn’t always been like this. Up until five years ago, when I was twelve, I was a regular demion, a demi-demon with a perfectly beautiful blend of the Ancient Powers of Darkness inherited from my demon sire, combined with the gentle capabilities and goodness of my human mother. I had the best of both worlds— a viable connection to the Powers along with all of the benefits of being a human, a Sapie, we call them. Sapies don’t know we exist, but we’re everywhere. We look like them, talk like them, and act like them. But we’re better than them in almost every way. At least, I think so.

I served a purpose in this world. I knew my place. That is, until the Amazèa cast a spell in an attempt to separate me from my Powers. They succeeded, sort of. I still have my Powers, but they split my soul in half—shattered me right down the middle. Now, I’m only alive at night. My human half, Liora, lives during the day, complete with her own personality, memories, free will.

When the Amazèa separated my demon half from my human half, it was far worse than if I had died. For so long afterwards I wished it had been me who died. Instead, it had been my best friends, Kayla and Michael Roberts, who paid the ultimate price while I was forced to watch them suffer.

I’ve never forgiven myself for being unable to help them.

I’ve never forgotten the vows I made beside their crumpled, lifeless bodies as I swore to avenge their murders to my last dying breath.

I’ll never stop trying to lift the curse and restore my broken soul, whatever the cost.

Killing the Amazèa is my only option. There is no plan B.

Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as slaying a run-of-the-mill parasite demon or even a lower Light-angel. It’s strictly forbidden by Demonic Law for any demon or demion to attack another ranked higher in the hierarchy. As far as the chain of command goes, the Amazèa rank near the top while I rest somewhere in the middle.

I don’t care. I only care about revenge for Kayla and Michael.

I only care about getting my life back.

Whatever the cost.

Diablo gallops us closer to our destination, and I force away the anguish that threatens to swallow my heart whole. Soon we’ll reach a Portal to Thiberoux. In order to pass through its protective seal, I need to focus. As the cold fog suddenly appears, enveloping us in complete darkness, I wrap my hand around my Boumeaux. Diablo, unfazed by the blinding barrier all around us, continues racing forward.

I close my eyes. I feel my palm smolder; the stone vibrates in my grasp. Silently, I recite the secret command:

Hasish Auria, permissum mihi obduco.

Hasish Auria, permissum mihi obduco.

Hasish Auria, permissum mihi obduco.

The dense fog quickly lifts, and I welcome my new surroundings. My real world – not the one Liora lives in. There, I am an outsider. Unwanted. Here is where I belong.

The three full moons of the goddess Illyria glow brightly in the eternally sunless sky, illuminating the landscape. Acres of lush foliage paint the hillsides vibrant green and gold, untouched by Man’s seasons which turn their trees into skeletons. There is no death here. Only life. And limbo. But never death.

The Land of Thiberoux. Home of the royal descendants of the first Dark-angels, the enchanted realm of demonia. Safely hidden from the naïve eyes of the human world.

Once, after one of my first visits to Thiberoux as a young demion, I looked for its location on a Sapie map. I was surprised to see that instead of the lakes of fire and oceans of ice, volcanoes exploding with thunder and lightning, magical forests full of sprites and elves, and the pits of swirling vortexes connecting various dimensions, there were cities, freeways, two airports, and four major universities. Two separate and opposite worlds existing in the exact same space. I used to wonder how that could be possible.

Now I totally understand.

Diablo grunts, his powerful muscles push and strain as we head up the mountainside. I bury my face in his mane and squeeze my legs tight. He’s never thrown me, but the curves here are wicked, the cliffs treacherous, and he barrels around them with terrifying agility.

He eases to a trot as we approach the River of Kings. The stream of churning fire flows for miles in either direction and creates a perfect circle around the inner sanctum of Dryndara, my tribe’s territory of Thiberoux. A massive beast, nearly invisible in the night save for his piercing yellow eyes, growls menacingly at us from the base of the footbridge.

I eye the creature with caution and dismount. A light tap on his hindquarters sends Diablo cantering into the shadows to await further commands. After dusting off my cloak and lowering my hood, I approach the sentry. The hellhound growls again and bares his razor-sharp teeth.

“What’s your problem?” I ask good-naturedly and give him an affectionate pat on the head.

I take several steps back as the canine begins to tremble violently. He rises on his haunches, twisting and convulsing until h