It was dark. And the pain grew with each lash. I could feel my body trying to heal as fast as it could, blood dripping down my body before the next one hit, and then the next.
The nightmare kept going well past its usual ending. On and on, living in this nightmare. I tried to move, but was frozen, not by my own doing, but by the will of the thing hurting me. It gave no pretenses as to what it wanted from me – pain and fear and undying torment.
The thing cackled in the darkness, there was no eerie red glow from the eyes just the darkness and the pain.
But it was just a nightmare. Something tickled at the edge of my senses, something I knew, or should know. But it kept slipping through my fingers as I bit back the pain from the next slash of elements against my back.
Somewhere in the distance there was a soft breeze, it blew against my hot flushed skin with a whisper, I’m coming.
Who was coming? The world was nothing but darkness and there was nothing I could do. The gentle breeze whispered again, a different voice this time. Daddy, come back.
That voice struck a chord in my heart so strong that I jerked against the invisible bonds, and found that there were none. I stumbled back and fell to the ground. But in the darkness I couldn’t see anything, it was black and even the ground beneath me felt like nothing, like I was floating in an abyss with nothing around me – falling.
Then the wind from below and above, the falling caught me off guard and I screamed. The echo of it bouncing through the air. All thought left as I screamed. I knew this feeling. If only I could control the fall.
In the panic of the moment I felt arms wrap around me, warmth and comfort and home. The soft scent of citrus and safety smothered me and I gasped for air. I knew that smell. I’m here pretty boy.
The name echoed in my head and I knew I should know. I knew the voice. I felt a push and then a pop and then a rush of air Come back to me. To us.
Us. Family. Alex!
Dream. This was a dream. I reached for my power but it slipped through my fingers like water. It was there but not there. I started to panic.
It’s okay pretty boy. There was a soft breeze against my cheek and a flutter of wings that followed. It was a dream. I wasn’t falling.
And as if by magic I was on ground. The dirt between my fingers was a welcome sensation. There had been no landing it just was. Vague memories floated around. I didn’t need my powers, I could bend my dream to my will.
The world grew light, it was warm and sunny yet the sky was covered in stars. I felt the pull of Alex and I stood up to walk towards him, but as I turned I saw a man – who wasn’t really a man. He couldn’t be. His eyes were red like the demons, his skin as black as ash but he was wearing a purple pimp suit decked out with leopard print fur to accent. Gold chains hung from his neck with demonic symbols decorating each one. “Who are you?” I shouted, but it came out like a mere whisper.
He laughed. “It doesn’t matter. But you are mine, this feeble control is nothing.” The same tentacles formed behind him and I wasn’t impressed. I’d seen them before. He lashed out at me and one caught around my arm leaving a red mark dripping with blood. The pain was real, I felt it through my whole body. But seeing a man – a man I didn’t know, a monster, a thing I had to protect my family from I could withstand anything. I was Venatori. I was…
“Nox fucking Sétanta.” Alex’s voice chimed in loudly behind me as he grabbed my hand and entwined his fingers in mine. I looked at him with a big smile. “Sorry I took so long.”
I couldn’t believe he was here. Wherever here was.
“That was stupid of you, Eidolon.” I was confused, who was he talking to I looked around. There was no one but me and Alex. “You think I don’t know you, you wander the darkness, sow your chaos in the dreams. He is mine!”
Alex laughed. “Actually, he’s mine.” He held up the ring on his finger and snickered, “Didn’t think I’d be using your gift to ward away … ”
“Demons,” I supplied. “He’s a demon.” I sighed. “A nightmare demon, I’d have to pull books to get his name.”
He growled at me, “Phobetor. My name is Phobetor. You insolent little bug. Who do you…”
Alex interrupted, “We’re going to go now.”
Phobetor didn’t like that, his hiss of displeasure sent shivers down my spine and Alex took a step back when the power grew around him. He meant to encompass in air or something but I grinned at him as a shower of flowers fell from the pattern he had tried to create. I laughed. “See, this is my dream, and thanks to my blue eyed boy here, I learned a long time ago, if it’s my dream I can control every aspect of it.”
The demon in front of me was naked except for a pair of purple and gold boxers, and we were surrounded by a frozen waste land and it was cold – bitterly so. The demon raged and he enveloped himself in flames and he revealed his true self. He towered above us in in grotesque form – bird, beast and snake as if he couldn’t make up his mind what he wanted to be. His mouth roared at us sending spittle and foul breath.
I squeezed Alex’s hand, I wasn’t sure if it was for my own comfort or to reassure him, but it made me feel the connection to him even more. I waved my hand in front of me and a fireball formed and I smiled. My power was my own. Phobetor glared at me. “That is mine. You are mine!” he yelled and then each step he took towards us he would repeat it.
“Whatever you are going to do pretty boy you better do it. I don’t want to be eaten by this thing,” Alex prompted.
The fireball flew towards the demon and he thought to block it but I softened the ground and he sank throwing off its balance and the fireball stuck true and he screamed. The fire stuck to the demon like dragon’s fire. I added fuel to the fire, more air to power the inferno and even though the stench of burning demon would remain with me until the end of time I stayed.
Alex grinned. “How do you know that’s what burning demon smells like?”
I looked at the man standing next to me. “I’ve exorcised a demon or two,” I said as I leaned over and kissed my fiance. He might not want a wedding, but I would give him whatever he wanted for the rest of our lives.