|Dancing On The Edge
Of Hell: Part 3
Power Of The Black
Sheila Preisler and Seth Chambers
2003 by Sheila Preisler and Seth Chambers
I awoke with power coursing through my body. It was dark in my room and yet I found I could see perfectly well. The black pearl was warm against my neck, seeming to almost caress my skin. I looked over to the box the demon Vans had given me. I still had not opened the box. What was I afraid of? I didn't know, but somehow I could not bring myself to lift the lid.
There was a rapping at my front door. I found I could hear the breathing of the person knocking. Further, I could even recognize her by her breathing. I called out: "Just a minute, Page."
"How'd you know it was me?" she called back.
I smiled to myself and went over to the box. Placed my hand upon it. What could be in it? Maybe I was afraid that it would just be nothing, and I was afraid of disappointment. But somehow I knew that wasn't it. Whatever was in there, it was something incredible.
Page knocked again, this time harder and louder.
"Brooklyn! Open the door, I need to talk with you."
I threw on a robe, crossed my room and threw open the door. Page burst in and stopped short, looking me up and down.
"What? What's wrong?"
"There's something different about you, Brooklyn."
"You mean this?" I asked, caressing the black pearl on my neck.
She stared at the pearl, as I had when I had first seen it. I covered it up and said, "So what do you want, Page? What's so urgent that you come knocking on my door at this hour?"
"Well..." she began. "I need a drink."
"A drink? It's seven in the morning, Page."
"I know but... I'm just a bit upset. Something happened. This guy... I met this guy and he..."
"He what, Page?"
"Could you please get me a drink, Brooklyn? I could really use one."
I got her a screwdriver, which she downed in a single gulp.
"This guy, he said the end of the world was here," she finally said.
I let out a good laugh at that.
"What? What's so funny about the end of the world?" she demanded.
"Well, it's just that it's so obvious! I mean, look outside! Look there!"
I waved my hand toward the window. Outside, fire was falling from the sky, giant slugs were oozing up from cracks in the road and a two-foot-high imp was running down the street screaming.
"Of course it's the end of the world!" I nearly shouted at her. "You need some schmuck to tell you that?"
"I need another drink."
I got her another screwdriver and told her to go easy on it. She put it away in two gulps this time.
"This guy, he went on and on about repentance and, well, he just made a lot of sense. So I invited him over here."
"What? You what? Invited him over here? To my place?"
"Well, yeah. Is that okay? I mean..."
Now I was starting to need a drink. I told her that it didn't much matter whether it was okay or not, she had already asked him. I asked her when he was going to come over.
"He'll be here any time now."
"Oh, great. Just what I want: some doomsayer coming to my place before breakfast. That's just wonderful, Page. Just wonderful."
"I'm glad you're not mad," she said.
I glared at her but she didn't seem to notice, as she busied herself making another screwdriver. Then her eyes lighted on the black box that Vans had given me. She looked at me. "Hey, what..."
"Don't ask," I said.
A moment later the two-foot-high imp started pounding on my window. I shouted and shooed him away, then threw on some clothes. Page was going on and on about her new friend and the things he had said to her. I hoped he wouldn't show, but as luck would have it he was at the door within just a few minutes. I snapped at Page to let him the hell in.
He was human, at least, not a demon. Not a bad looking man at all, but a bit too well- groomed for my taste. Every hair in place, clothes all pressed, black leather shoes shined, and a smile that was just too wide for this hour of the morning.
He introduced himself as Logan and he complimented my modest abode and he rattled off small talk, and all the while that damned smile never wavered. I endured the small talk and the compliments and finally he cut to the chase: "You're probably wondering why I'm here, now, am I right?" he asked.
I noticed that his eyes kept straying to the black pearl on my neck. As much as he tried to look away, his eyes kept coming back to my pearl. I looked at him intently then and there seemed to be some sort of red glow about him.
I didn't answer him but instead slowly caressed the black pearl, all the while looking into his eyes and smiling. The red glow around him grew brighter. Beside me, Page said, "What... What's going on?"
I took a step closer to Logan, still looking into his eyes. That big smile of his faltered for the first time.
"Okay. You tell me why you're here," I said to him.
Page went to my bar and made herself another drink, spilling orange juice all over the place. Neither Logan or I paid her any mind. Logan regained his smile and said, "I'm here to warn you that this is the end of the world, the end of everything, as it is written in all the prophecies." Suddenly, he puffed himself up and boomed: "Behold, the signs are all about you! The end is nigh! BEHOLD, NATION HAS RISEN AGAINST NATION, THE TIME TO REPENT IS NIGH UPON YOU!"
Page, quite sauced by this time, cried out, "Oh, Lord, have mercy upon us poor sinners!" and took another drink. "Hallelujah!"
Logan went on with his preaching but even through it all his eyes kept coming back to the pearl on my neck. Suddenly, I put my hand over the pearl and he suddenly stopped talking. Our eyes met.
"You like my pearl?" I asked.
"I... I was trying to tell you about what evil lies ahead if you keep on wearing that black pearl. You are playing into the hands of the devil by wearing that."
Page said, "What's all this about a black pearl?"
Logan said, "Your friend here is wearing a pearl that has a terrible, dark power. But there is still hope for her." Then he looked at me. "Brooklyn, remove the pearl. Give it to me and be free of it! Do it now!"
"No," I told him.
The red glow around him blazed now.
Page cried, "Brooklyn, just give him the pearl!"
The red glow coalesced around him and blazed through his eyes. His skin coarsened, became reptilian. He raised one hand, only now it was a claw. That smile came back and this time he showed long, sharp incisors.
"GIVE ME THE PEARL!"
The pearl was hot against my skin, almost burning me. Logan reached out, lightning quick, but I stepped back and my own hand shot out and grasped his wrist in a death grip. Page screamed. Logan's other claw whipped around and would have connected with my head but I ducked and it went harmlessly by. I gave his other arm a vicious twist and flipped him over. He roared like a wild animal. I kicked out, pushing him across my room.
Page started to scream again, then dropped to her knees and fell over, out cold.
Logan and I squared off then. Fully revealed as a demon now, he was easily twice my weight but I felt strong, confident, even powerful. He charged me. I laughed and got ready to smash him into the wall.
But Logan pulled a fast one. Changing direction, he dove for the black box that Vans had given me. I jumped after him but he kept on running, with the box, and out my window with a terrible crash.
I got to the window a second later.
Logan was already running down the street with the black box. I bounded out the window and tripped over the two-foot-high imp. The imp laughed maniacally as we both crashed to the pavement.
Logan was long gone, box in hand.
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