Bargains: A Between the Veil series Short

The sweet scent of sulfur and copper mingling as one filled my nose. The abyss robbed me of such sensations for far too long. Time meant nothing here, more a human concept to try and trap eternity. I found no need for such things; yet, I craved morsels that only these fleshmongers offered. I cast my gaze out towards the pulling sensation of a summoning, beyond the veil between the worlds.

Imprisonment sapped my strength, and my sight brought the fuzzy outline of a prostrated figure before my sigils into view. Rudimentary offerings of blood and flesh teased me while the clumsy muttering of the incantation rooted my consciousness. The slightest tingle of power danced in the background. It was a crude ritual, but it served for now.

As my essence surged in the mortal realm, fear rolled through the room, causing my mouth to water. I forgot how tasty the mortal emotions could be. The puny creature chittered, stumbling over its own language. Its words were irrelevant to my kind. Whatever it requested, it mattered not. I cared for only what I gained in return.

Fear turned to terror, overwhelming the quivering fleshbag and causing it to lose its tongue and what little courage it possessed. Boredom and anger swirled through me, and I pooled the vestiges of power the paltry gifts bestowed into my very essence. It was not much, but it would suffice. I focused upon the creature, leveling my will on its. I recalled the endless stillness of limbo, and allowed it to flow from me into the mortal. The terror seeped from the room as the human babbled once more.

Images flickered through my mind’s eye, of another human, but my will focused on the offering of meat, glistening with red. It tempted me to push my mind further onto the supplicant, to force this creature to engorge itself on the flesh. I envisioned it guzzling down the blood, choking it down as the viscous fluid trailed down its chin. I held back, not wanting to waste my chance though. It was far more delicious when they abided my whims of their own accords. The tug of something disgustingly pure drew my attention back to the flood of images, shimmering with a euphoric essence and tainted by the covetous intent of the mewling wretch before me. Even I was not able to refute the pull of such purity. I yearned for my corporeal body, in order to feast upon such things.

I tapped on the door of its consciousness, promising a multitude of things relevant to its pathetic desires. The more I showed, the more excitement blossomed within it, pulsing through the room as the creature squirmed before me.

The human hesitated, and I felt the pushback against my will as it tried to free itself. I continued to channel the void of the abyss from me, to force a calm through the room. I worried that I played my hand too soon, and I needed to take care to not scare this one away. I knew not when another opportunity would arise.

I begged a simple favor, to just be free and to hide away.

I waited for the answer. I was good at waiting, even when greed and hunger gnawed within me. My imprisonment taught me that patience was useful. The worries and concerns of the mortal whipped about me. It thought it knew the risk and true weight of what I asked, but it doubted me still. A malicious grin spread across my visage, and I teased it with images of what my power could grant – of the sweet fulfilment of its darkest desires.

Hesitation fled, and it spoke the binding words needed to free me from my prison through my assistance. As soon as the words left the supplicant’s mouth, my essence fused with its mind, and I nestled myself deep within the recesses. It would take some time to get used to this vessel, and its primitive needs, but, as I said, I was patient. Besides, I’d rather twist this one’s desire to my own designs. As our minds synched on the same plane, its senses sharpened, heightening – the sulfur and copper becoming more pungent. A wave of nausea rode through the mortal shell, and it fled to another room, purging itself of its stomach’s contents.

Cool water splashed across its face moments later, and then, I saw the change had begun as my red eye stared back at me in the mirror.

Thanks for reading this short story. It’s intended to be a companion piece for my first novel, Not So Picture Perfect.