Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Capricious Infection ❯ Act 1: Guest ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The winter rain fell heavily on the streets of a large city in Japan. Most people who were once out and about had sought refuge in the nearby buildings, or another available place where they could be shaded from the onslaught of water. A few brave souls were trudging through it, sporting their umbrellas of many sizes, shapes and colors.

Among the forms, one stood out: a lone man, tall and lanky, with a head full of unkempt-looking hair that was a mixture of curly and wavy. It was short and the large curves clung to his face as water pelted against his form. The male was clad in drab attire, his shirt was a dingy gray, and his pants were baggy and black as if they were too big for him. Truth was, they were. He could never quite find clothing that fit properly and at this point in his life, he would take what he could get. There was no option for being too choosy.

The curly-haired man stopped on the edge of a puddle as the rain lightened. He gazed down at his face in the water’s reflection. There were many things off about his visage, odd little quirks of the flesh that made him stand out from most of the surrounding populous, well, besides the fact that he was a good seven foot two. His eyes were a dull dark blue and his pupils were small, he had high eye brows that looked penciled in more than they did naturally grown and an up turned pointed nose made him seem clownish in appearance. He frowned deeply.

This would just not do.

“What a pitiful-ass thing I have here,” he berated himself as he stared down the awkward-looking image. “I’ve been living on the streets for…I don’t even remember how long. I don’t have any money. I don’t even remember how I got here.” The man muttered to himself as he trudged over the water, making sure that he gave the image a good distortion with his battered shoe.

He traveled across the road and headed down two blocks in silence as the rain’s lightened patter was reduced to a gentle mist. Glancing around, he found a spot to rest underneath the overhang of one of the carpet stores. There was a pile of old, dirty rugs and that was as good of a spot to take refuge in as any. At least if he got cold he could make use of the tattered flooring by wrapping himself up inside of it.

Plopping down haphazardly, he rested a bony forearm against his bent knee and gazed up at the street lamp, bathing in its soft luminosity. He sighed deeply, dull eyes transfixed on the lighting. “My hope seems to be flickering away. Whatever hope it was that I had.”

Come to think of it, things couldn’t get any worse. It was raining, he was soaked, had no memories of who he was aside from his name, and homeless. The temperatures were going to get pretty low tonight. No doubt he’d freeze to death before morning. If he died it might have been a blessing in disguise. The world wouldn’t have to put up with what shallow of an existence he had.

He was brought out of his bout of self-bashing when something hit his foot with a harsh jar.

“Huh?” His raspy voice spoke softly as he turned his sights to a girl. She was clad in a black, fuku-style skirt and a black shirt. Her tall, slender frame was hunched over and her pale arms were reaching around, as if she were trying to find something.

Well, that was pretty damned strange. Some random, attractive girl just fell over his foot. The man stared for a moment as this girl reached for her umbrella a few feet away. It was kind of pathetic to be honest. The way she was patting the ground like that, and the way she always sadly missed her mark by mere inches. He might as well help this girl with whatever dysfunction she was having. Maybe she was blinded by all of that black hair that was hanging down in her face, and everywhere else.

“Here you go,” he spoke, and picked up the black umbrella as he stood and handed it to her.

She looked up at him through black, round framed glasses splattered with raindrops and thanked him in a more mature voice than he would have ever guessed her to possess. Taking the umbrella and clutching it to her bosom, she bowed politely. “My name is Rezzi Ayamatsu.”

“I’m Tarvos,” might as well give his name, seeing as she was more than happy to bless him with hers.

“What are you doing, sitting out in this bad storm?” Rezzi questioned, running a hand through her evenly cut bangs and moving her shoulder-length, black hair that flipped out over her shoulder.

“It’s not like I have anywhere else to go,” it wasn’t sarcastic, just flat-out honest.

“You don’t? Did you get kicked out of your house?” This girl was full of inquiries. Why did she even care? It’s not like anyone else would have given a damn about him.

“Uh…You could say that, I guess,” Tarvos’ answer could nearly be seen as a contrived lie, and he knew how awful it sounded but it wasn’t too far from the truth. ‘Considering I don’t fucking know, maybe it could be the truth.’

Luckily enough, Rezzi bought it. “Why would someone kick you out into such a horrible storm? It’s going to be freezing out here tonight.” Whoever did such a thing was cruel. The thought of someone freezing to death was an idea that she had never entertained and it sounded like the most agonizing death that someone could have.

Even if she walked away now, it would bore into her mind and eat at her psyche if she left this Tarvos man out in this weather. She knew that later on in the midst of night, she would find herself occasionally glancing towards the windows and giving him passing thoughts of concern.

“Guess that’s tough shit for me,” Tarvos was as unenthused as he’d been before. It wasn’t as if he could truly care about much in life. ‘Just what I want to do, freeze my wet groin off in the cold.’

What a lovely thought. Oh how he hated what little of a life he had.

For a moment, Rezzi looked as if she were having some sort of dire mental war. Her head tilted down and she put a hand under her black lips in thought before gazing back up at him. “I don’t usually offer this, but maybe you can stay the night at my house.”

He didn’t seem like a rapist or a pervert, just some guy who was generally down on his luck. This wasn’t such a bad idea, or at least that was what she was telling herself. Rezzi just couldn’t walk away. She somehow wanted to help this man, if only for a night and she promised herself that she would take precautions. This entire time she had devised many escape plans within the confines of her mind if anything bad were to transpire.

Tarvos quirked an eye brow. “What?”

He could hardly believe that this girl would even offer such a ludicrous thing. Was this real life? What in the fuck did he just hear her ask? ‘Either this woman is naive, or she’s stupid to invite someone she didn’t even know into her house. Then again, I shouldn’t really question an opportunity, should I?’

Capricious Infection
By: Melissa Norvell
Act 1: Guest

“You actually want me to stay with you?” While still unamused, Tarvos was no doubt a little shocked by her offer.

“I probably shouldn’t but since I live alone, I don’t get many visitors.” Rezzi explained to him as they walked down the cold, cobblestone streets. The weather had already begun to drive off into the chill of the night and their dampened forms shivered against the elements.

“You live alone?” That was an even stupider reason to invite someone into their house. What in the hell was this girl thinking? The male was shocked that such people existed in this world. It went against the very grain of humanity.

“Yes, my parents died two years ago, so it’s just me,” the girl noted as she continued to walk. Tarvos’ lazy eyes were transfixed on a stick that she raked across the ground in front of her. It was an odd movement that he had not noticed anyone around him doing since he had lost his memories.

“What are you using that stick for?” After several minutes of pondering on whether or not he should ask that question, he gave in to curiosity.

“I’m completely blind in my right eye and partially blind in my left eye. This is called a walking stick. It helps me get around and it makes sure that nothing is in my way so I can’t hurt myself,” she explained. Since his memories were gone, the concept might have been new to him. Rezzi thought of him like a child, learning about the ways of the world.

“It didn’t do a very good job considering you fell right over my legs.” The curly-haired man retorted sardonically. It didn’t seem like a very useful tool to him, but what did he know? He wasn’t blind, either. He was actually shocked that she was blind.

“I’m sorry. I’m usually more careful. I guess I just didn’t feel out to my left enough.” Her words were sincere, but in retrospect they would not have met otherwise. Silently, the girl was happy that she had found him. In her own mind, she was doing a favor to humanity by offering her home to Tarvos on such a cold night.

“Eh, I don’t give a fuck. It could have been worse. You could have been beating me with it.” That was his usual response anyway. Even with no memories, people were not exactly the kindest to him and frowned upon his less fortunate state. Their views of him were no less than that of a piece of trash that happened to roll under their feet, only to be kicked away into the wind and allowed the drift once more.

“You seem pretty down on your luck, Mr. Tarvos.” It was obvious, but she brought it up for conversational purposes. Maybe she could get him to open up to her, even just a little.

“I’m confused, pissed off, cold and wet. Can’t say any of those are a good thing.” He was as vague as ever. How could he have been any less? He didn’t remember anything.

“I think you’ll feel better after a hot bath,” Rezzi offered. He probably had not bathed in a true bath tub in a very long time.

“I haven’t had one of those in a long damned time,” she smiled at being correct on her assumption.

“I can tell.”

“Are you saying I stink?” Tarvos shot.

“You smell a little, yes,” she admitted. It was actually not as bad as it could have been, since the weather was damp. If it were hot, she could only imagine the smell of sweat, combined with the odor of his form from not having soap or proper means of bathing.

“Yeah, probably,” Tarvos just agreed. There was no use in arguing with some blind girl whose sense of smell was probably heightened due to her impairment. Besides, it would be best not to make nasty with the one who stupidly offered him her home.

The rain started again, coming down hard against their forms. It stung their exposed skin and formed droplets on the outside of Rezzi’s glasses. It soaked them to the bone and they picked up the pace, turning the corner as they huddled under the umbrella.

“Damn, it’s raining even harder now.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to share my umbrella?” The black-haired girl noticed that Tarvos broke away from her and just weathered the storm on his own. The rain viciously beat against his form as his clothes clung to his body.

“It’s just water.”

“Suit yourself,” she shrugged him off. He was probably used to things like that. Rezzi didn’t worry too much about his state and they would soon be to her house.

“How much farther is it?” The drenched male inquired as he shielded himself from the rain by putting his forearm up to his forehead, blocking it from beating against his eyes.

“A couple more minutes,” Rezzi assured him as they continued down the street.

Tarvos turned his sights to her. “By the way, why were you in this storm?” It was grinding on his mind for a while, since she was also blind and what little vision she had would be impaired further by the storm. She could also slip and hurt herself. Right now, she wasn’t even using that stick. Perhaps she trusted him far too much already.

This was quite…interesting to say the least.

“I was coming home from a friend’s house,” Rezzi explained simply. “She, her friend, and I were working on an assignment for class and they were helping me out.”

So, she went to school. Was she a college student or did she attend high school? If she did, she had to be no older than eighteen at the most. Maybe should be nineteen, but that was stretching it a bit on his end.

“You go to school?”

“Yes, I am a senior this year. I’ll be graduating soon. I take it you don’t go to school or anything.” As ridiculous as it sounded, she wanted to ask anyway. His voice was deep and raspy, much like a chain smoker’s but it was attractive enough to be mistaken. Tarvos had a certain sense about him that produced odd qualities in her mind. Since he was merely a blurred form to her, his appearance could be labeled as a tall, young man or an older, malnourished one.

“Never have, probably too old to.” Well, that he remembered, anyway.

“Probably? Don’t you know how old you are?” Rezzi questioned.

“Not sure. I forgot a bunch of shit. I can’t remember a damned thing,” Tarvos admitted.

“Maybe I can guess,” She offered. “I’m pretty good at guessing ages.” It seemed like a fun game to pass the time, and take their minds off of the long run.

“That might help me. Anything that might jar my memory works for me.” However, their game was cut short upon their arrival at a small, quaint house with a large front yard. The two of them ran up to the door where the girl stated that it might not have been much, but it was where she lived. Rezzi knew that it was not like the other houses, or anything worth gazing in admiration at.

Running her fingers across the name plate, she made sure that she was at the right residence. It would have been rude to just assume and accidentally walk in to someone’s house by mistake. Tarvos watched as her fingers played over the arranged bumps. Above the bumps was the name ‘Ayamatsu’ engraved in all caps.

“Your name is Ayamatsu, but what’s the stuff you’re running your fingers over?” Black lips curved into a smile slightly. He really was like a child. It was endearing.

“It’s brail.”


“Since I can’t see letters, I have to feel them. Its how blind people read,” she explained, turning to the quizzical man who arched an eyebrow and peered at the bumps with a frown.

“Looks like gibberish to me.” Before he could add anything onto that sentence, he felt small, cold hands on his large, bony one. They directed him to the brail and instructed his finger tips over each bump. He felt them below his fingers. She asked him if he could feel them. “They feel like bumps, but how do you read them?” That was the main quandary of the day for him.

It was an interesting subject. This brail stuff was a mysterious language in its own.

“I had a special school for the blind that I went to in order to be able to read it.” Further explaining, Rezzi opened the door and led him inside. “Please, come in.”

Tarvos walked in, and felt a little awkward doing so. He had not seen the inside of a house in…god knows how long. He stayed put for a while as she took her umbrella and shook it off on the porch, then stuck it inside of a nearby vase to dry. Rezzi took off her mary janes ,sat them to the right of her door mat, and walked a few paces into the living room.

He glanced down at his own, worn out black and white sneakers. ‘I guess this is what I’m supposed to do? Don’t ask Tarvos, just go with the flow.’ Tarvos bent down and began to take his soaked shoes off. The man was so concentrated on removing the unwanted clothing that he tensed up when he felt two feminine hands touch either side of his cold face. What the hell was going on?

Tarvos glanced up at her with a quizzical expression. “What the hell are you-?”

“Determining your age. Remember? You asked me to.” When she thought about it that was probably not the best way to approach someone and the movements themselves could be taken in several ways that could be misinterpreted.

Oh well.

She couldn’t take it back now.

Rezzi’s expression didn’t change much as her hands glided up the small, thin horns that were about four inches long and extremely pointed at the ends. Her eyebrow arched as she ran them back down and further ventured to the sides of his head, which adorned small horns that curved and resembled that of a kudu, long and wavy in structure and a vibrant red. If Tarvos was not seated, she could not have ran her hands completely up the three foot tall horns. Gripping them by their midsections, she gave them a harsh jerk, which caused the man to snarl out in pain.

“Ow! Hey! Be gentle with tho-“ Fuck. He cut himself off by slapping his hands over his mouth, but it was far too late for that now. He was found out whether he liked it or not. How in the hell would he explain this to her? This girl would probably never let anyone in her house again.

“You have some strange growths out of your head. Don’t you think you should go to the hospital?” Rezzi furrowed her eyebrows and leveled him with a serious expression. Such things could be dangerous. Whatever they were, it was just abnormal and he had so many. There was no doubt that this man must have been in tremendous amounts of pain.

“I guess I have to tell you,” Tarvos took his hands from his mouth and settled with himself as the girl continued to ponder to herself out loud.

“I hope touching them won’t affect me. It’s not contagious is it? Do I have to wash my hands?” She held her hands out in front of her as she squinted to “check” them for any visible signs of abnormalities.

“No,” his response was irritated and unamused. “You see…I kind of…Well, it’s not really a lie but I didn’t exactly tell you the whole truth.” Might as well get this parade over with, since he had already been caught. Tarvos could only hope that he didn’t get thrown out of his only refuge for the night.

“What do you mean?” She cocked her head to the side. That question was all too innocent. Surely, she thought something was up.

“Don’t you think Tarvos is a strange name for a human?” Even by her standards, that name was off in many different ways.

“You could be a foreigner.”

Oh, give him a break already!

Very foreign…”

“What do you mean by that?” Now things were getting interesting. The black-haired girl put a hand under her chin in thought. This was no ordinary homeless man. What she had here was a rarity, something that didn’t happen in everyday life. It almost seemed like something straight out of a fantasy novel.

“You could call me a demon. The “growths” on my head are horns. I also have wings and long, pointed nails.” To anyone else, this would sound like the ranting of a crazy man, but Rezzi knew that there was no way he was lying. Especially not now, this man was anything but ordinary.

Rezzi looked contemplative as she remembered back to the time she took his hand. The structure was slightly different, and his nails were long and pointed, even for a human’s. She had noted it, but she didn’t say anything because she thought of it as rude. Besides, homeless people could have long nails due to the fact that they had no means to groom them properly. “I thought I felt them when I showed you the brail outside of my house. I didn’t want to touch your hands too much. That could come off as awkward to people.” It was hard to admit, but because she relied on touch so much, some people could take it the wrong way.

“Do you mind if I feel your wings?” It was an awkward moment of silence before she dared to ask him, but she figured since she touched his horns that this would be no different.

“You touched the rest of me, might as well,” Tarvos replied as he shed his human disguise. His hair turned a deep midnight, his eyes retained their dark blue coloration and his face held accents of black around his lips, eyes and on the tip of his nose, making him look rather clownish in appearance. The accents were light and looked as if they were airbrushed onto his face, nose, and mouth and on his joints.

Protruding from his back was a long, slender wing with pitch black feathers and a dark green dragonesque wing with a hooked claw at one end and pronged claws on the bottom. The blind girl walked over and sat between them, running her hands through the soft feathers, and over the scaly texture of the reptilian wing. Following the bone structure to the base of the wing, Rezzi ran her hands into his shirt and felt the connecting joints that anchored them to his body.

‘Great, she’ll never let me stay now. That was a big-ass mistake. She probably thinks I’m just a dumbass…or that I’m a crack head.’

“You have two types of wings, a bat wing and a bird wing. They actually are connected, right down to the bone. It’s hard to believe that you walk around like this and no one says anything.” Rezzi’s voice held slight shock to it, but she had such a calm demeanor about everything that she was hard to read even by his standards.

“I look human to everyone else who can see me physically. I put a spell on myself so that my extra appendages become invisible. You can’t touch what you can’t see. You’re different, because you can’t actually see me. You can feel and know that I possess extra appendages.” He spoke, his mouth now full of terrifying teeth, all long and pointed. The creature had no definition and individuality in his teeth.

“This is almost unbelievable. Until now, I’ve barely had visitors and now I have the strangest visitor of them all.” If she hadn’t felt them for herself, Rezzi was certain that she would have thought him a liar if he just admitted it carelessly.

However, it was evident that he was trying to hide it from her. With all due respect, he had tons of reasons that she both had and had not thought about. Instead of being fearful of him, she was curious as to why he was here, where he came from and what his mission was. She wanted to learn more about this strange man and his whereabouts.

“Right now, I’m just happy that you brought me in out of the rain. Thanks um…” His memories slipped him again.


“Rezzi…” ; The name rolled from his mouth smoothly, like water from a soaked leaf. The demonic man cracked a smirk. “I’ll have to remember that name.”

Her head shot up and a shocked expression crossed her face suddenly. “I almost forgot! I have to draw a bath for you!” Immediately, she hopped up and picked up her walking stick. How rude of her! She was just sitting there, having some sort of conversation with him on his strange appendages when this man, alien or not was obviously freezing cold and wet. How inhospitable of her!

“I can’t believe that you don’t give a flying shit about me being a demon.” As much as his voice held the tone of not giving any fucks about anything, this girl was amazing to him. He was flabbergasted at her display and reaction upon knowing about his true identity.

Rezzi stopped in the kitchen and took her glasses off. She gazed at him with pale, faded eyes that nearly looked white. “It does make me edgy, but it doesn’t seem like you want to hurt me. You seem genuinely grateful that I helped you.” It was startling. Anyone else would have run away, but she had personal reasons for allowing this situation to continue. Both spoken and unspoken.

“I guess…” He didn’t care, so he’d go with it for now. Not that it still wasn’t weird to him.

“You admitted that you lied to me,” she pointed out.

“What the hell else could I do? You found me out. I could have said the horns were fake but you yanked them so hard I thought you’d forcibly remove them on your own.” Honestly, even he knew that his lies would get him nowhere in this situation. It wasn’t as if he were trying too hard to conceal his identity. Now that he thought about it, he didn’t care too much about that. Just enough to not let people openly know that he was a demon.

“I’m sorry. I thought it was a strange hat.” Rezzi apologized, knowing her failing eyesight allowed her to misconceive things. “I never expected it to stay attached.”

“Ugh, it’s fucking awkward now,” he sighed in exasperation.

“Maybe, but I think it’s kind of interesting. Even though I’m shaken, I can say I’ve had a demon stay here.” The girl said as she walked into the bathroom and began to run him a hot bath.

“You don’t think I’m a crack head?” Tarvos questioned as he gazed into the bathroom from his seated position on the door mat.

“I actually believe you,” she emerged from the room. “It’s unnerving for what I know about demons.”

“Let me offer you a proposition.”

“What is it?”

“If I answer anything you ask, can I stay here for a while? I won’t get you involved in my problems, and I’ll protect you. I won’t let you stay alone.” It was the least he could offer for her assistance. If anything, she would prove a nice cover for what would transpire. Yes, there were ways that she could be utilized beyond the role of a simple caretaker. It would also buy him the time that he needed. Tarvos could not do anything until he was instructed to, so the situation played in his benefit as he would sit there and keep a watchful eye on things.

“That’s very sudden,” it really was out of nowhere. Now she was a little suspicious as to what might be going on within the confines of his mind. The more she spoke with Tarvos, the more it seemed like he actually knew what his mission was, and the less he seemed to actually be suffering from amnesia.

“I don’t have a place to stay. I figure I might as well offer something.” For now, they could benefit each other. At least, logic dictated that would be the ideal situation.

“We’ll talk about it later. For now, I want you to relax, Mr. Tarvos,” she assured. Just looking at his weary form made her want to help him even more, now that she knew what he was. The opportunity to communicate with another being like this didn’t come around and more than anything she wished to aid him in feeling his most comfortable.

“Just call me Tarvos.”

“Okay, Mr. Tarvos.”


The bath water was warm around his form as he sat chest deep in the once clean substance. The demon covered himself in suds from head to toe and watched as the clumps floated like feather light clouds on the water’s surface. ‘Damn…this feels good. I haven’t had a bath with actual soap in a long time.’

There was a small knock at his door.


“Sorry, all the soap I have is floral scented. I did manage to find a kimono for you. It’s not much, but it’s the only thing I have that doesn’t look girly.” Rezzi stood outside of the door, holding the clothing in her hands. It was just a drab blue kimono with no design on it whatsoever. She mainly used it to sleep in, and while it would not do Tarvos justice because of their height difference and body structure, it was better than nothing.

Claws ran through jet black, curly hair as the demon viciously scrubbed at his head. “I don’t give a fuck. As long as it’s not a dress, then I’m good.”

“Sorry, I can’t help you wash, but I can probably do other things if you need me.” She offered, silently berating her disability. The school girl wasn’t going to attempt to feel around and accidentally grab something that she wasn’t supposed to. Did a demon from another planet’s genitalia even look like a human’s? She shook that quandary from her mind.

Next were his wings. Lathering up his feathers, he gazed at the now brown water in disgust. “I feel like I’m wearing a fucking sand dune. Yeah, I’ll tell you.” He brushed the girl off. ‘I just want to soak in here until I look like a mother fucking prune. Even if I do smell like flowers.’


It was odd, really. This piece of blue human clothing didn’t even really fit him right. It was short and tight on his upper torso. Not to mention it was drafty as hell. Tarvos had adjusted the bothersome cloth in a way that he finally felt comfortable with. “That’s better. It took me forever to even figure out how to get this thing on. This is the only thing I have to wear until I get some decent clothes. I think she threw my other shit in the trash.” Annoyance riddled his face. “Oh yeah, I have no underwear either.”

This was awkward.

“You smell nice,” Rezzi stood by him, taking a whiff of his hair.

“Anything is better than what I smelled like before.” Even Tarvos admitted that his foul stench could knock over any four legged human beast for miles around.

“It feels good to be clean.”

Tarvos nodded. “Thanks for your teeth cleaning tool and this hair brush.”

“Sorry that it has hearts on it. I’ll get you a new one tomorrow. Oh, and I also prepared a small meal for you.” She replied nervously. Hearts were undoubtedly not meant for a male, and she felt the outlines of them all over the hairbrush. It would have to do. She didn’t really have another.

“I’m fucking starving.” Food was definitely a good plan. He actually hadn’t eaten in days.

Tarvos headed to the table and sat cross-legged at it, staring at the plate of food before him. It was a simple meal, a weird colored soup with tofu in it and a side of won tons. Beside of them was a cup of green tea to wash it down with. Rezzi was quite proud of herself for such a preparation, even if it only looked like blurs of color.

He leaned down with his hands on his knees, eyeing the food with suspicion.

“It’s not poison.”

“What is it?”

“It’s sweet and sour soup. Haven’t you had any before?” She wasn’t sure what he ate, but found it strange that he didn’t know what sweet and sour soup was. It was a pretty basic Japanese food.

“Just pork buns and those fish pastries,” whatever he managed to steal from a local stand or scrounge up the money to get. They were mostly little things that were not considered true meals. Tarvos had never even touched anything close to soup. “You made this?”

“Yes, why?”

“You’re blind. How can you make food that you can’t see? I’d cut my damned finger off.” It wasn’t as if he had ever tried to cook for himself. Actually, it was probably best he stayed away from the kitchen, considering he would cut his own finger off regardless of whether he had sight or not.

“I do things by touch, smell or hearing for the most part. Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean that I’m completely useless. When you lose a sense than the others are heightened,” Rezzi explained. She wondered if there were any blind demons wherever Tarvos came from. Maybe they all had perfect eyesight. If they did, were they able to see in color or black and white?

Taking the spoon, Tarvos shoveled a spoon full of soup into his mouth. “This is damned good.”

“I made plenty,” Rezzi smiled, happy with herself.

“So, what do you want to know about me?” He inquired between bites of the sweet and sour mixture.

Taking a seat across from him in a traditional tea pose, Rezzi began her round of questions. “Why are you here?”

“That’s one of the things I forgot. I just know I’m stuck here for a while until I do whatever it is I’m supposed to do.” Nice try. He wasn’t about to spill everything. Who did she think she was to believe she gained that kind of trust?

“Do you remember if you have a family, or someone that you love?” Maybe that could lead him back to some memories. Besides, she wasn’t sure to what extent his memories were diminished. Sometimes people with memory loss only suffer it to an extent and can remember some things but not others. It was worth a shot.

“Do you mean like a pyrex or a stratos?”

“A…pyrex or a what?” The inquisitive girl cocked her head. What in the world were those things?

Tarvos looked blank in turn. “You don’t know what that is?”

“No. Humans don’t have those.”

He was utterly lost. ‘It just got awkward again.’ They were clearly experiencing cultural differences. “There are different types of relationships in my world. A pyrex is someone who is your mate. You can reproduce with them and bear young. A stratos is a soul mate. You can have consensual sex with them but you are forbidden to have offspring. They are close to you and protect each other.”

“Kind of like a best friend?”

“Best friend?” What was that?

“Best friends are inseparable. They complement each other and they are always together.”

“Do things together?” Maybe they were the same. Stratos were like that.

“They are around each other all of the time. They shop together and some of them even live together.” No. They were definitely not the same. Stop it, Rezzi.

“Are they intimate?”

“Intimate? They hug and hold hands-“

She was cut off.

“Do they have sex?”

“Some can, I guess.” Pale eyes blinked at his inquiry. They had a weird concept of what qualified as friendship. “That’s called being a friend with benefits. When you’re friends with benefits, your relationship is different. When you’re friends benefits your relationship is different, it’s kind of like a blurred middle between friends and lovers.”

“I guess that’s what stratos are by your human definition. We mostly comfort and show affection and sympathy to our stratos. We touch foreplay and when the situation permits we become sexually active with each other. A stratos is a very special person. Unlike your human ‘best friend’ a demon can only have one stratos,” Tarvos informed.

Rezzi pondered for a moment. “That makes sense. If you were being beneficiary to someone, they would be pretty upset if you had sex with someone else other than them…Well, unless they allowed it.”
That’s how it worked for humans, anyway.

“Stratos won’t allow it. It’s blasphemy and considered unfaithful. When someone becomes a stratos, they are in that position for life.” If a stratos was to ever show signs of being unfaithful, they would be dealt with accordingly. It was a factor of demon society that was heavily frowned upon.

“Do you have a stratos?”

“No, but I’ve never worried about it,” Tarvos replied as a vision plagued his mind. He was smiling sadistically, his fanged covered in the splattered blue blood of his people. His clawed hand reached into another demon’s back, forcing its way through the blood and ichor. It tore through the muscle and forced its way around the spinal cord and ripped it out with a single pull. His victim’s pained scream soared through the air as their spine was dislodged, popping and twisting as he removed it from their body, holding the flexible vertebra in his bloodied hand. The fluids splattered on his face as he ripped another victim’s head off with ease, furthering the blood bath and spraying his form with the hot liquid.

“Do you have a stratos, Rezzi?”

“I don’t have the self-esteem to go out on dates,” she admitted, a bit embarrassed. She actually couldn’t remember the last time she had gone on a date with someone, or that someone had even asked her out.

“Could have fooled me, you’re damned attractive.” Tarvos smiled at her. Seriously, this girl was a looker and she didn’t even know it. Whatever human turned her down was a damned fool, or they were blind themselves. She was tall, athletic and had the charm of a gothic beauty with her long, black hair and porcelain complexion, in contrast with her black, painted lips, thick lashes and black eyeliner that she had tattooed on. Well enough, because she didn’t need to try and put it on herself. No doubt that would cause her to lose what was left of her eyesight.

“I have a disability. I feel like I’m a burden to normal people, much less to someone who liked me. If I’m alone, then I don’t have to worry about someone taking care of me-“



“I think you’re lonely. This whole time, I’ve not seen you truly happy. You look like you just exist.” It really was just as he said. Rezzi seemed hollow. She just went along with everything and her personality was subdued. Where was her flair and vibrancy? Was she just that composed or was there something more to her? For some high school kid, she didn’t act typical.

She was just as intriguing to him as he was to her.

“Existing is what I know how to do best,” the corners of her lips curved lightly into a bitter smile as he voice dropped an octave.

“It isn’t all you need to do. You should live life to the fullest, and if existing is all that you do then you never enjoy life…or you end up regretting it all.” His last words hung to the air as the images playing through his head ended with corpses littering the ground, and wicked teeth smiling down upon a sea of death.

…To Be Continued