This is the ninth part in an ongoing serial I’m writing. To read from the beginning, click here. Or find the story index at the top of the page.
A swift and sudden crack to the back of Damon’s head removed any possibility of argument, contradiction or recrimination. His world went dark to the sound of Crispin commenting,
‘He always was easy to manipulate. By me, at any rate, if no one else.’
‘You did well,’ the thin, raspy voice said.
Then Damon heard no more…
It was daylight when he regained consciousness. Hazy shafts of golden light broke through cracks in the ceiling, highlighting dust motes as they swirled through the air in a downward direction.
As Damon righted himself and sat up, there wasn’t any doubt he was very angry with himself. He should have known. Crispin could never be trusted. And did he not protest too much at approaching the mausoleum?
Shouldn’t we be running as fast as we can in the opposite direction? Hadn’t those been his very words?
It’s not even if Damon had fallen for one of his tricks. He had simply not been paying Crispin enough attention. His inner and outward focus had been on the mausoleum, not on his brother.
His head hurt terribly. Gingerly he rubbed the point of impact. It wasn’t suppose to hurt so. One of the upsides to being a demon was a faster-than-human rate of healing, yet something seemed to be impeding it.
‘I’m so sorry about all of this,’ the same thin, raspy voice said who had been speaking to Crispin.
Slowly Damon turned to look in the shadowy corner and out stepped a small, stooped figure. It was only when they crossed into the light of a sunbeam did he realise his size and bent frame was through age. The little man must have been five hundred years old, if he was a day.
‘I don’t really think you’re sorry at all.’
‘Oh I am, only not enough to stop what we’ve set in motion.’
‘Ah, that would be telling.’
‘I don’t like surprises.’
‘I don’t care.’ His old wizened face broke out into a wicked smile, showing Damon a mouth full of small, sharp, pointed teeth.
‘Who are you?’
‘Damon, I think you will understand if I decline to reveal myself to you at this time.’
‘Names have power.’
‘Indeed they do. I know yours. I am not foolish enough to let you know mine.’
Damon stood. The world was a little unsteady beneath his feet, but he worked to keep his balance. The only problem was that no matter the direction he attempted to advance in, he could not move more than three steps without hitting an invisible barrier.
‘I see you’ve found my insurance policy.’ The old man chuckled quietly. ‘You see, Damon, we’ve been planning this for a very long time. No short cuts and meticulous preparations will see that I gain all I want on Samhain.’
‘Wait for the surprise you don’t want,’ he suddenly snapped, his thin, wheezing words replaced with a venomous snarl. Then, his voice returning to the softer, weaker timbre, as if his short outburst had cost him a lot in terms of energy and effort, ‘The Devil’s in the detail. Isn’t that what they? I can promise you, ever detail has been precisely determined.’
Damon felt a chill tickle the hairs on the back of his neck. Then he watched helplessly as the old fellow shuffled away, back into the shadows. However, before he had gone he said, ‘I would tell you to get some sleep, but soon you’ll have plenty of time for that.’
A little more shuffling, then a very heavy door banged closed and Damon was left alone to ponder his predicament.
To be continued…
Written for: 13 Days of Samhain vol ii: Day 9 – The Devil’s In The Detail