Some more fiction for you, Gentle Reader, including the fancypants new series title for MARVEL AMONG THE DEMONS, and the first chapter/prologue. I will post a few more chapters this week. Please let me know what you think!
MARVEL AMONG THE DEMONS,
(BOOK ONE: DI INFERI/THE INFERNALS)
AMY L. MONTZ
Angelus: “No weapons… no friends… no hope. Take all that away and what’s left?”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Becoming: Part 2”
It was the middle of the night and I was 35,000 feet above the earth, hurtling through the sky in a metal tube lovingly known as an airplane. The sleeping pills the doctor had prescribed were not working, and I didn’t even want to think about the jet lag I’d have tomorrow. Today? Was it today or tomorrow? Oh, and I needed to go to the bathroom—well, the loo, since I had to learn British slang between now and landing—but a demon got there before I did.
Well, I didn’t know he was a demon, per se. What I did know was that something strange was afoot at the economy class bathroom, and either someone was joining the mile-high club, or someone was in agony.
I knocked quietly on the door. “Um, hello?” I really had to pee, and my neck was doing that pained thing again that countless doctors and chiropractors couldn’t determine the cause of. But person in agony trumped bathroom usage, apparently, and there was a quiet groaning coming from behind the door.
The door opened, almost too quickly, it seemed, and a face stared down at me. “What do you want?” it asked.
I say “it” because there was no other way to describe the face before me. It was shifting, as if the television hit a satellite freeze and the picture was coming in scrambled. Yes, scrambled was the best word for it. I pulled back and felt my neck burn with pain.
The thing/man… thing blinked at me and said, “What are you?”
What am I? I looked around the small enclave where the bathroom was and edged as far away as possible. It wasn’t that far. “Sorry,” I said, as I tried to fumble back to my seat. “Wrong bathroom.”
The man-thing—it looked like a man now, then it didn’t, the image coming in and out—and the man it looked like was nondescript like any other man in a suit traveling to England on the overnight flight. I couldn’t differentiate him from any of the men sitting near me, or in business class, really. His hair was brown, his eyes brown, his height middling, and that was it. Oh, except for the scrambled face thing. That was weird, right?
Was I even listening to myself? I was delirious from lack of sleep. Maybe the sleeping pill was kicking in after all? Was this a hallucination?
He slithered back into the bathroom, closed the door behind him, and I heard the “click” of the “Occupied” lock falling into place.
“Ma’am?” the flight attendant asked.
I turned to him. “Bathroom?” I asked. “This one is… it’s occupied.” I wanted to tell him something about the weirdness, but I knew what happened to people on airplanes and public spaces who said and saw weird things. My grandmother’s Alzheimer’s, after all, had degenerated to such a state that public spaces were a disaster. In the end, she had screamed about seeing things and hearing things that weren’t there.
“There’s another one on the other side,” the flight attendant said.
I found the other bathroom, un-occupied, and returned to my seat in record time. I put on my sleep mask, plugged in my earbuds, and let the Mumford and Sons try to take me to sleep.
My dreams were plagued by scrambled faces and eerie laughter. By the time I woke up, I had almost convinced myself all of it had been the side effects of lack of sleep and sleeping pills.